It has been quite some time since Wayne Rooney was regarded as one of the best strikers in the world.
The Manchester United captain, who is currently enduring his most goal-shy season since signing for the Red Devils in 2004, is receding into a midfield role with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford hogging the limelight up front.
However, the possible appointment of Jose Mourinho this summer could change all that. The Portuguese has long been an admirer of Rooney and famously tried to bring him to Chelsea in the summer of 2013.
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If there is one player in the current squad that Mourinho can coax the best out of, it will be Rooney, and, if he does, then it could prove to be the perfect recipe for success.
Rooney hit 34 goals across all competitions for the second time in his career as United were pipped to the league title by Manchester City four years ago, but Sir Alex Ferguson still went and poached Robin van Persie from Arsenal.
That was because the Scot did not trust the ex-Everton forward to wrestle the title back from their noisy neighbours. He saw a decline coming and instead opted to build his final title-winning side around the excellent Van Persie, who scored 31 times.
It was harsh on Rooney but Ferguson usually knew when players were getting stale. He sold Ruud van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid despite the Dutchman’s ruthlessness and then famously signed Cristiano Ronaldo when he believed David Beckham was no longer the player of old.
Rooney’s form in recent seasons has done little to dispel the talk that his powers are waning. He has scored 47 goals in the last three years, compared to 66 in the three years before that.
Though Mourinho ultimately failed to lure Rooney to Chelsea once Ferguson had made way for David Moyes, the Portuguese has always admired the England captain and could be the perfect manager to get him firing on all cylinders once again.
Rooney’s future is widely believed to be in midfield, particularly with Martial and Rashford in such electric form, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Aritz Aduriz, and Ronaldo are all proof that players can still score goals despite their advancing years.
Mourinho coaxed the best from similar powerhouses such as Didier Drogba and Ibrahimovic during his time at Chelsea and Inter Milan respectively, whilst Benni McCarthy was another success story when the pair were both at Porto.
Louis van Gaal has utilised Rooney well, but his goal tally is fading with every year, and Mourinho could be the man to get the 30-year-old back to his best if the club bites the bullet and hire him this summer.
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