Wayne Rooney spent large spells of last season playing in midfield with Louis van Gaal preferring to deploy the recently departed duo of Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie in the striking role.
Rooney managed to score 12 goals throughout the season, an impressive tally from a midfield role, but that doesn't guarantee that he would have done better if he had played as a striker the whole of last season.
With Van Persie and Falcao having left the club, Rooney is the undisputed starter in the striking role, with only Javier Hernandez and James Wilson as the other strikers in the first-team. He played as a striker during the pre-season games, but often lacked the sharpness that the vintage Wayne Rooney produced in his early years at the club.
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His acuteness was left wanting and his first touch more often than not deserted him, and this was evident in the season opener game against Tottenham. His first touch was poor but, Kyle Walker was there in time to save Rooney the blushes from blasting out wide when he squeezed the ball into his own net.
His lack of sharpness makes us wonder whether Rooney may be past his best - well as a centre forward anyway. He is not getting any younger and his best position may turn out to be in midfield, in the number 10 role. He has proficiency in supplying the ball and can hurt any opposition when going forward.
This would mean pushing new recruit Memphis, as he has asked to be referred by the media, out wide and signing an out and out striker who can hit the 20 goal mark a season. Another possibility would be playing Rooney in a two-man attack as a supporting striker in a 4-4-2 formation like he played with Javier Hernandez during Ferguson’s time.
Utilising Rooney may be the key to United’s campaign to challenge for top honours and even though he may not be the goal predator he once was, his skill and experience is unquestionable.
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