Wayne Rooney.

Manchester United fans mock Wayne Rooney's heat map vs Watford

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Even when Manchester United were winning at the start of the season, Wayne Rooney was coming in for a lot of criticism from fans at Old Trafford.

Things ramped up to another level on Sunday afternoon, however, as a 3-1 defeat saw Jose Mourinho's men lose a third straight game and fans vented their anger squarely at Rooney.

He was less than inspiring in a deeper role at Vicarage Road and, with BT Sport making public his heat map during the game, United fans pounced on it as a symbol of everything that is wrong with the England captain's role in the team right now.

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Rooney had already taken a barrage of abuse for his performance against Watford, and the Manchester Evening News' player rating of 3 summed up his horrible afternoon's work:

"Started in midfield and ended in the No.10 role. His passing was often shambolic and he was easily dispossessed. No longer good enough for the first XI," they wrote.

However, there's nothing like a heat map to rile up a fan base. It leaves a player nowhere to hide.

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To be fair to Rooney, he was seemingly deployed in a three-man midfield against Watford - despite Mourinho claiming he'd never do such a thing when taking the job at Old Trafford.

However, that didn't stop United fans venting their anger at their captain's preference for staying out of the box in Sunday's fixture. Indeed, many speculated much of his energy was used in chasing down the referee rather than his opponents.

The heat map is only the latest piece of evidence frustrated fans in Manchester can point to as they hope to see Rooney removed from the starting XI.

With Marcus Rashford scoring once again on Sunday, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic having adjusted well to like in England, it is increasingly difficult for Mourinho to explain why Rooney is yet to be benched.

And, as the manager attempts to survive the criticism heading his way after a difficult run of results, it might only be a matter of time until Rooney does join him in watching games from the sideline.

Watford v Manchester United - Premier League

He may no longer be viewed as a striker, but there are also plenty of options in midfield at United.

As well as Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, the likes of Michael Carrick, Anders Herrera and Morgan Schneiderlin are available to give United something in the middle of the park.

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Wayne Rooney
Premier League
Juan Mata
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
David de Gea

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