Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has refused to hide from the fact club-record signing Angel di Maria is struggling desperately at the moment, but is adamant the Argentine star will come through a difficult spell to rediscover top form.
Di Maria was hauled off at half-time during last weekend's 2-0 win over Sunderland, after a flat first-half performance that saw the winger look a shadow of the player who started his United career in fantastic form through September and October.
Rooney believes Di Maria has the quality to respond quickly to what's been one of the most troubling periods of his career, insisting he'll be very important to United's bid to secure Champions League qualification despite Saturday's struggles.
What's gone wrong for Di Maria?
After bagging a brace against the Mackems the England skipper was asked if Di Maria has what it takes to bounce back, telling The Sun: “Of course he has, this was one of those days that every footballer has.
“He is a great player, he has shown that and you don’t lose your talent overnight. Hopefully he will get back to his best and start giving some great performances for us.
“He has got a lot of experience and I think he will figure it out, we all have to do that sometimes. There is nothing worse than when everyone keeps going on at you.
“You have to come to it in your own way and I am sure he will be a big player for us between now and the end of the season.”
Body language was a worry
Van Gaal did the right thing putting Di Maria out of his misery at the break against Sunderland, because the former Real Madrid linchpin's body language was nearly as bad as his performance.
Di Maria looks to be having a hard time adjusting to United's methodical, deliberate possession-heavy style, much more at home running into space with pace and purpose.
That magnificent chip against Leicester City suddenly seems a lifetime ago for a player clearly not enjoying life in the Premier League.
Without the initial euphoria of sealing a massive transfer to use for momentum Di Maria looks a little lost, which means it will take all Van Gaal's experience to bring his £59.7m man back to form.
Van Gaal will know how to handle Di Maria though, with struggles to adapt to a new country and culture nothing new. United fans may have to be patient with Di Maria but Rooney is spot-on, he simply has too much quality to keep turning in such uninspiring performances.
Man United fans, what do you think is the problem with Di Maria? Will he come good this season or this is a long-term issue? Let us know by having your say in the comment box below!
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