How do you solve a problem like Wayne Rooney?
As captain of both his club and his country, Rooney should be the first name on the team sheet. But where should Rooney’s name appear on that team sheet?
He made a name for himself as a fearless forward, scoring goals for fun and terrorising defences. But, like many players in modern football, as they’ve get older they have found themselves playing further away from the opponents goal.
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That’s certainly is the case with Rooney as both Sam Allardyce and Jose Mourinho are seemingly happy to allow him to play in a much deeper position than he used to - despite both saying that they wouldn’t.
And Jamie Carragher feels that the two bosses have made a mistake for going back on their word regarding Rooney's position.
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"Everything stems from Sam Allardyce playing him in central midfield in Trnava when he had previously said he’d never use him in that position,” he wrote in his Daily Mail column.
“Jose Mourinho also said he would never play him as a No 6 or a No 8. Both of those managers made mistakes saying that.”
While Rooney’s passing ability is up there with some of the best midfielders in world football, his lack of mobility and pace can sometimes slow down attacks for his side.
However, there is no reason why Rooney can’t fully transform himself into a deep-lying playmaker - something that the likes of Paul Scholes, Andrea Pirlo and Steven Gerrard have done towards the end of their careers.
However, Carragher thinks that supporters need to recognise that Rooney is capable of doing just that and ignoring the previous comments from his two managers.
“Maybe people are finding it hard to accept the idea that a top striker has dropped deeper for club and country,” he added.
“Perhaps they have remembered the words of Mourinho and Allardyce and are forming opinions from there.”
The likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford are standing in his way of playing as a striker at Old Trafford and Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy are doing likewise for England.
So, therefore, maybe the best way of Rooney prolonging his career is by playing in a much deeper role. Maybe Allardyce and Mourinho should just come out and admit that they intend on playing him in midfield from now on.
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