Wayne Rooney’s recent form has divided opinions across the footballing community.
Some supporters believe the Englishman remains a world-class player, while other don’t even think he warrants a place in Manchester United’s starting XI. It’s an intriguing debate.
The latest United supporter to give his view on the situation is Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville. The ex-Valencia manager believes a position change could be the answer to Rooney’s recent strife.
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The bottom line is that Rooney isn’t the player he used to be, for better or worse.
Not since 2011-12 has the United captain amassed 20 goals in a season and his appearances as a striker are becoming scarcer by the week. Even his performances in midfield have caused supporter discontent.
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Many have cited the 30-year-old’s conservative and backwards passing as reason to bar him from this position also. Some fans are of the opinion that Rooney’s absence from the team’s backbone is little detriment.
Furthermore, this weekend proved the biggest indication yet that the supporters were being answered. In the Red Devils’ 4-1 romping of Leicester City, England’s all time top scorer had to settle for a place on the bench.
While Jose Mourinho may have publically backed his skipper since, the nature of the win may show United are better without him.
Club legend Neville has voiced his concerns over Rooney’s future also.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the ex-United right-back explained: “This is a transition into a new phase of his career, where he’s potentially got to play a different way.
“No player at 22 is the same at 32, 33, 34.
“If you look at Paul Scholes, he went from a marauding midfielder to a holding midfield player, Steven Gerrard the same, Giggs from a flying winger to a central midfield player.
"There will come a point where he will have to make that decision of either playing every week or coming to that point in his career where he may come out of the team one week, then go back in and adapt to that type of position."
Therefore, not only does Neville think Rooney should drop back to midfield, but a holding one at that. Considering the 30-year-old made his name as an out-and-out striker, this must come as a shock.
Given the skipper’s unspectacular form of late though, it’s clear that change, whatever that may be, must be enacted. For the sake of his Old Trafford career, it’s simply a must.
Besides, if Neville gets his way, Rooney will be brushing shoulders with Michael Carrick just in front of the back four. Who would have thought it?
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