Wayne Rooney's Manchester United career has never been up for as much debate as it has in recent months. In fact, the England striker's current situation at Old Trafford is arguably the biggest talking point at the club.
Now into the latter years of a trophy-laden career, Rooney's role for the Red Devils has changed from the days he led United's attack, now into a deeper role in attacking midfield.
But despite United boss Jose Mourinho insisting that Rooney would not play in midfield, and would continue as a forward, prior to the start of the campaign, the Portuguese has gone against his word.
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And judging by the striker's early-season form, Rooney is failing to show the same productivity in midfield as he did when he was a striker - producing just a single goal away to Bournemouth, on the opening day of the season.
Rooney's performances in midfield have been so frustrating so far this season that, in fact, United supporters have already dismissed the 30-year-old's chances of making an effective transition into a deeper role.
According to the Manchester Evening News, 99.08% of United fans stunned a poll run by Red Issue sanctuary - a former Manchester United fanzine which ceased publication in January 2015 - by suggesting the United captain should be dropped by Mourinho.
The overwhelming outcome completely overshadowed the 0.92% of fans who loyally showed their support for Rooney - hoping that the United boss perseveres with the striker who is slowly being pushed further down field.
The poll, titled: 'How do you solve a problem like Wayne Rooney?', is likely a question that will become an even bigger problem for Mourinho over the course of the season - especially after recording three successive defeats in his last few games.
Mourinho's tactical headache
But while it will be a tactical headache for Mourinho, there is also concern for Rooney. The England striker is finding himself even further away from a return to his natural role up front, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic already proving his world class pedigree in the Premier League.
Marcus Rashford has also forced himself ahead of Rooney in Mourinho's pecking order, after proving to the Portuguese that last season was by no means a fluke, while France striker Anthony Martial is yet another young and highly-talented forward who is ahead of Rooney, as a forward option.
"I can take him [Rooney] out," Mourinho recently admitted. "It’s no problem for me to take him out, no problem for him to be out.
"But I was just reading the game and feeling that playing with the two strikers, Marcus and Zlatan, I needed Mkhitaryan and Rooney just inside because the full-backs were the ones playing really wide on the touchline.
"He was like the team. The first half he was okay but the team was a little bit slow in the transitions."
Rooney fourth-choice striker
The current situation at United is getting tougher for Rooney as of late, particularly as his goals have seemingly dried up, while both Ibrahimovic and Rashford currently look a cut above the former Everton man.
But despite Rooney having won five Premier League titles, the Champions League, amongst FA Cup and League Cup successes, it seems Red Devils fans are becoming impatient that their main man is failing to produce the sort of form that had made him a vital player at Old Trafford since his arrival in 2004.
Ibrahimovic's prolific nature in front of goal is showing no signs of slowing, despite his age and, with the Swede already having netted four times in the league this campaign, it seems inevitable that only injury to Mourinho's first-choice front men can help get Rooney back in contention for a starting birth at the top of the field.
Can Wayne Rooney force his way into contention to play in a forward role under Jose Mourinho? Have your say in the comment box below.
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