Football

Wayne Rooney should have been on the PFA shortlist

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As the football season draws to a close it brings about the annual PFA awards, in which the players' player of the year trophy tops the bill.

This year's nominees include Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez, Manchester United's David de Gea, Tottenham's Harry Kane, Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho as well as the Chelsea duo of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.

However there is one notable omission from that list: Wayne Rooney.

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It goes without saying that each of the nominees has displayed exemplary skill and ability throughout the course of the season to earn their nomination, yet in the case of Rooney, it wasn't his skill or ability that resulted in his absence. 

Having scored 12 goals and made five assists this campaign, the Manchester United captain has been instrumental in his club's resurgent transformation from Premier League has-beens into potential title-contenders. Along with goalkeeper David de Gea, the two have been United's most consistent performers with their desire and work-rate evident for all to see.

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In times of trouble where United have needed the outstretched fingertips of their goalkeeper to produce a wonder save De Gea has delivered. Likewise, when they have required a moment of creative brilliance to provide a match winning goal, Rooney has delivered.

System changes

Yet it is only the former who finds himself receiving PFA recognition for his efforts, largely because of the tactics that Rooney has been forced to operate under.

With an abundance of attacking talent at his disposal including the likes of Angel di Maria, Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao, Louis van Gaal has often opted to play Rooney in a deeper midfield role in order to facilitate his marquee players. Though this has been much to the detriment of Rooney's natural game.

From that central midfield position he has had to work tirelessly in regaining possession for the team rather than focus on scoring goals, which as a result has hampered his goal tally. Although Rooney will quite rightly claim he is happy to play wherever he can be of a benefit to the team, as a striker who is ultimately judged on the number of goals he has scored, this will no doubt have had severe implications on his hopes for making the PFA shortlist.

Fulfilling the midfield role for a large stretch of games in the early part of ths year, Rooney failed to find the net in eight successive matches from the deeper position he was forced to occupy.

Back where he belongs

Though upon being recalled to his favoured role upfront following an injury to Van Persie, Rooney immediately highlighted the error Van Gaal had made in playing his captain out of position.

A return of three goals from three games made it clear that his abilities are wasted in midfield, and that United become a far weaker side without their main man in attack.

This has been a point strengthened by Chelsea defender, John Terry, who conceded that he was "quite relieved" to find Rooney forced back into midfield in last weekend's match following a further injury crisis at United.

Adding that "Rooney is a world class player and it kind of suited us", he stated that his former England team-mate is far more of a threat further up the pitch.

Although there are many players such as the likes of Sergio Aguero and Cesc Fabregas who could also stake a claim to be put on the shortlist, none should feel as aggrieved as Rooney in missing out.

Those names can blame injuries and a loss of form for their omission, but for Rooney, he has been consistent throughout. Instead, he has had to suffer through sacrificing his goal scoring threat for the benefit of his team.

One can only hope that Van Gaal has seen the error of his ways.

Manchester United fans: do you think Wayne Rooney deserves to be on the PFA shortlist? Let us know below!

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal

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