Wayne Rooney is still good enough to play in midfield for Manchester United - Perry Groves

Derby County v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship

Wayne Rooney made his long-anticipated debut for Derby County on Thursday evening.

The Englishman officially joined Derby on Tuesday and was straight in the side for their game against Barnsley.

And Rooney would impress as Derby won 2-1.

The 34-year-old, deployed in a midfield role, assisted his side's first goal as his free-kick was turned in by Jack Marriott.

And he played a key role for Derby's second goal, too.

Rooney's cross-field ball led to Martyn Waghorn converting from Andre Wisdom's cross.

It was a really impressive debut for Derby and some think he could still play in midfield for Manchester United.

One man that has adopted that view is former Arsenal player, Perry Groves.

Speaking on talkSPORT, Groves issued his belief that Rooney was better than Fred, Matic and Lingard and would undoubtedly improve their team.

Derby County v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship

Asked if Rooney would improve Man United’s current midfield, Groves said: “Yes. Undoubtedly. He would, 100 per cent.

“He’s better than Fred and he’s better than [Nemanja] Matic. Is he better than Lingard? I’m better than Lingard!

“Wayne Rooney is that good, he can still play in that United team.

“He reminds me of Paul Scholes. He used to be a player who got in the box, then as he got older he had to drop a bit deeper and started being the playmaker.

“Rooney can do that in a heartbeat. He would improve United, 100 per cent.”


There's no doubt Rooney still possesses great quality. He showed on Thursday night that class is permanent.

However, the notion that he could still walk into United's midfield is taking things a little bit too far.

It's important to note that Derby were only playing Barnsley yesterday, a side that are currently second last in the Championship.


Although he's now 34, you would expect him to dominate a team that are struggling in the second tier.

It would be a lot tougher for him to do the same against any team in the Premier League, of course.

United's midfield isn't the strongest and yes, Fred, Lingard and Matic probably aren't up to the standard expected at the club.

He may well be better than them, but it certainly isn't as clear-cut as Groves suggests it is.

Derby County v Barnsley - Sky Bet Championship

Rooney also shifted to a midfield role in his latter years at Man United, but he was let go as he wasn't up the required standard. That was three years ago when he was 31.

What makes people think he's good enough now when he wasn't back then?

Rooney is still a quality player, that's for sure. But, even though United's midfield isn't very strong at the moment, it's a bit too far to say he would simply walk back into their team.

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