Wayne Rooney has endured a rather miserable time since Jose Mourinho arrived at Manchester United this season.
The Red Devils captain is a player the Portuguese boss has longed to work with throughout his career, but has so far struggled to get the best out of him at Old Trafford.
Rooney has been deployed in several positions as Mourinho experiments with a variety tactics in search of the best system to fit his star-studded quad.
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But with only two goals and three assists registered in six competitive appearances this campaign, the 30-year-old has plenty of cause for concern amid his poor run of form.
Having played behind the striker, up front, in midfield and on the wing, Rooney may have tested Mourinho’s patience for too long – and he seems to agree.
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The England international faces the prospect of losing his No. 10 role to Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan or even Juan Mata – a player who appeared surplus to requirements during the summer.
In response to the criticism, Rooney said, as per The Sun: “That’s football, I think.
“We don’t win in three games and, of course, everyone is going to talk about it.
“We had a bad week, a bad eight days where we’ve lost three games, and it’s important now we react well to that and come through that.
“I have to focus, work hard, of course, and I’ve done that throughout my career.
“I’ve worked hard and tried to do my best for the team.
“I’ve done that [played in different positions] throughout my career.
“I feel I can play in all positions but I think the manager has made it clear either I’ll play up front or in the No 10 and that’s where he sees me playing.
“As I said before, it’s not just myself – the whole team is going in and working hard.
“We had a bad week but we’ve been working hard to put that right.”
Rooney – who has twice collected the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award – will likely endure a tough battle forcing his way back into the first team should he be omitted against the Foxes this Saturday.
The former Everton star is not the only United player guilty of dragging the anchor this season, though.
Two of the candidates poised to supplant Rooney as the architect in the final third – Pogba and Mkhitaryan – have both failed to chalk up a single goal or assist in Premier League competition to date.
Mourinho boasts the luxury of having a squad brimming with world-class options in midfield and attack, so one would think he can devise a suitable formation to spark his best players into life.
The answer to how long that process takes will only come in time – but for now, the Special One has a daunting task on his hands.
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