Wayne Rooney's alarming drop in form is down to the tactics of Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal.
That is the opinion of former Red Devils coach Rene Meulensteen, who believes Van Gaal's methods are restricting the England international.
Rooney endured another tough evening at Old Trafford on Wednesday; coming off the bench and missing a penalty as United crashed out of the Capital One Cup in a shootout to Middlesborough.
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He was, once again, blasted by supporters on Twitter for his lacklustre display, but Meulensteen believes the blame can not lie solely with the 30-year-old.
Speaking before Wednesday's defeat to Middlesborough, the former Fulham manager told talkSPORT: “You can’t throw it all at Wayne himself, it’s a combination of a few things.
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“Wayne is an adventurous player who likes to have freedom on the pitch, to roam around and get involved and find his own way to get into the game.
“I think at the moment he’s a little more restricted, he doesn’t always get the ball when he wants it and where he wants it.”
It is more than just his position
Van Gaal's rigid tactics have limited the impact Rooney can have on the team but, playing as the main striker, he can not have the luxury to roam the field looking for space.
Many United fans have suggested that Anthony Martial should be spearheading the attack with Rooney moving into the number 10 role or, alternatively, being dropped.
A shift into an attacking midfield position would give the United skipper more license to roam, but his current struggles on the field go further than simply a lack of space.
His shortage of goals is obviously a worry, but his overall performance has dipped considerably; his first touch looks off, his passing has been poor and his pace has completely gone.
It seems Van Gaal still has faith that his captain can drag himself out of his current rut but, given the reaction on social media and in the stands at Old Trafford, it seems some supporters are less convinced.
Would a move into midfield help Wayne Rooney rediscover his best form? Have your say in the comments section below
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