Roy Keane believes Wayne Rooney needs to improve his “awful” form and has criticised the Manchester United captain after he was recently filmed slapping a wrestler at a WWE event.
Rooney has been below-par for much of the 2015-16 campaign so far and failed to inspire his teammates once again during Wednesday night’s 0-0 draw against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League.
Few of Louis van Gaal’s players emerged from the match with any credit - but, as the team’s captain, Keane believes Rooney has to start doing more.
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“Wayne [Rooney] was on about a lack of composure and quality, but I think he was as guilty as anybody. He needs to step up to the plate,” Keane commented live on ITV.
“You look at Wayne's legacy at Old Trafford, it's absolutely fantastic, his goals record is brilliant. But now he's the captain there's more responsibility and I think he's got to do a lot more.”
Video: Roy Keane slams Wayne Rooney
Keane questions Rooney's off-field activities
Keane then moved on to the incident at the wrestling. Rooney slapped WWE wrestler Wade Barrett - an incident that was obviously staged - and the Republic of Ireland assistant manager feels that such unnecessary off-field distractions are contributing to his “awful” recent form.
“I always question certain players what are they doing off the field,” the former United skipper added. “Last week I saw him slapping a wrestler and I'm thinking 'Why is he getting involved in all that nonsense?' There's no benefit to him. I'd have a look at that side of it.
“It's certainly not helping him. I wouldn't begrudge him going out and enjoying himself, but if you're not at it yourself you've got to have a look and lead by example. He didn't do that tonight. He doesn't look sharp, he looks awful.
“Mentally he doesn't look really sharp, physically he doesn't look in great shape. He needs to have a look at himself.”
Rooney hasn't been good this season - at all
Rooney, who turned 30 in October, has struggled at times this season. England’s all-time record goalscorer has only hit the back of the net twice in the Premier League this season and has seven goals in 18 appearances in all competitions.
Against PSV - per Squawka - Rooney created zero chances, had zero shots at goals and won zero of his three attempted tackles.
This performance was not a one-off, either. Rooney has flattered to deceive for much of the campaign, leading some to question whether the former Everton starlet is finished at the very highest level.
Van Gaal still has complete faith in Rooney, but even the United manager’s confidence will surely begin to slide unless his captain’s dismal form improves.
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