Wayne Rooney is Louis van Gaal’s main man to the line for Manchester United next season.
This was confirmed by BBC Sport.Fans will likely see Rooney play alone up front for the Red Devils, with Memphis Depay sat just behind, or possibly there could be a reunion with the tower that is Marouane Fellaini, who revived his United career after a shaky debut season.
IS IT A RISK?
With only loan returnee, Javier Hernandez, who a few months ago looked surplus to requirements and 19-year-old James Wilson as back up now that Robin van Persie has joined Fenerbahce, this could be seen as a huge risk by Louis van Gaal.
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The risk comes from Rooney’s injury history and his notorious temper that has landed him in hot water, time and time again. In previous seasons, Rooney has been prone to big injuries.
He had a metatarsal injuries in the 2004 European Championships, just before the 2006 World Cup in Germany, where he eventually played like a man afraid to get injured again, and also in 2007 in the opening Premier League game against Reading which saw him sidelined again.
Rooney’s also regarded as one of the best for seeing a ‘red mist,’ during games. Just last season, he was dismissed for a cynical and needless foul against West Ham United at Old Trafford inside the opposition’s half as they tried to counter attack.
In the 2008-09 season, he hurled a ball back at the referee in frustration at Fulham and saw himself dismissed. As he left the field, he attacked the corner flag.
But possibly his most famous moment has to be his 2010 World Cup outburst, proclaiming to the whole world his displeasure at the English fans booing a woeful England team off after a 0-0 draw with Algeria.
He wasn't sent off for this offence but it highlighted that Rooney can lose his cool very easily, which could spell trouble for Van Gaal who is relying on him for leadership as captain but more importantly, the goals that win the games.
FITNESS CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE
If Rooney can remain fit, and is allowed the freedom to stay up top without dropping back, he has the perfect army behind him to battle their rivals next season.
Talented Memphis Depay will provide a new flair to the United setup and with the help of established stars such as Juan Mata, Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia, and a hopefully rejuvenated Angel Di Maria, who has been linked with a move to PSG in recent weeks, will surely provide Rooney with more opportunities to score goals.
Rooney will also be able to focus on the net rather than tracking back and tackling as he has been for the last two seasons while he let Van Persie lead up front. His new team-mates and tough midfield boys, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin will be doing that share of the work for him now.
ROONEY – WONDER KID TO MAIN MAN
‘Rooney, Rooney, Rooney,’ is what the fans chant deafeningly from the terraces of Old Trafford, or even louder at an away stadium when the Manchester United captain makes a trademark lunging tackle that just about connects, passes a ball thirty five yards or scores a goal that no-one saw coming. Put simply, to the United faithful, he is the main man.
When he joined from Everton in 2004, many wondered if he would live up to his price tag. At just 18-years-old he scored a magnificent hat-trick on his Manchester United debut.
From then on, he has gone from strength to strength, winning five Premier League titles, a Champions League, two League cups, a Club World Cup and many other personal accolades, including PFA Young Player of the Year twice between 2004 and 2006 and PFA Player of the Year 2009-10.
He is one of only four players to have scored over 200 goals for the club, up there with the other greats, Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Jack Rowley.
Perhaps his proudest moment was being given the captain’s armband, following in the footsteps of many Manchester United greats such as Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and Roy Keane. This also open up the opportunity for him to become England captain.
He has had a little turmoil at United, reportedly requesting a transfer during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign due to conflicts in ambitions, but he has always been hard working and tireless when he wears the United shirt; characteristics that go down well with the fans.
CAN ROONEY DO IT?
So can Rooney lead from the front, keep injury free and control his temperament? With his historic goal scoring record and his surprising moments of magic, Manchester United and England certainly hope so.
What do you think?