Rooney has struggled for form during the opening months of the season, scoring just two goals in nine Premier League appearances, and Xavi feels it’s time for the England captain to move into a deeper position to prolong his career.
United boss Louis van Gaal played Rooney in midfield for several months last season - in order to accommodate Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao - but it was not an experiment that worked particularly well for either the player or club.
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"Personally I think Rooney still has much to offer, but maybe it's time for him to adapt," the Barça legend, who now plies his trade with Al Sadd in Qatar, was quoted as saying by the Mirror. “You get to an age and you can't play the game you once used to, you can't cover the ground you used to.
"But intelligent players adapt and there's no doubting Rooney has a very good footballing brain.
"Maybe it's time for a new striker at Manchester United, who can run for 90 minutes, but Rooney would be very dangerous in a deeper role.
"He has the vision and the passing range to play that role very well.
“If he can adapt, there's no reason why he can't play at the top level for another five or six seasons.
"But as a player you must admit to yourself your body is changing and can't do what it used to be able to do."
Anthony Martial should replace Rooney
The majority of Manchester United fans would probably agree that Rooney is no longer capable of playing as the team’s main centre-forward on a weekly basis, but they might argue that a replacement for the Red Devils’ skipper is already at Old Trafford.
Anthony Martial has started his United career with a bang - scoring five goals in 10 appearances following his £36 million transfer from AS Monaco at the end of the summer transfer window - but has been shifted out to the left wing in recent weeks so that Rooney can play upfront.
Martial has looked far more dangerous when deployed in a central attacking position, though, and United fans will be hoping to see the hugely talented 19-year-old start as the team’s striker when the Red Devils take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.
Manchester United fans: should Louis van Gaal start playing Wayne Rooney in midfield again? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!
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