Martin Keown names player Wayne Rooney could still replace in Man United lineup

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Football News

The Manchester United squad will be heading into training today in high spirits after what was an emphatic 4-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday.

However, Wayne Rooney could be forgiven for having a few pangs of regret at how things turned out at Old Trafford over the weekend. The England captain, of course, had to watch all but the final few minutes of United's dominant win from the bench after being dropped by Jose Mourinho.

The absence of Rooney from the starting lineup coincided with arguably the Red Devils' most impressive performance of the season, and Paul Pogba's breakout Premier League game. As a result, the veteran striker's prospects for the next few months don't exactly look great.

But, whilst plenty of United fans are ready to consign Rooney to the bench for the remainder of the season, former England teammate-turned-pundit Martin Keown still believes there is a way back into Mourinho's starting XI for the 30-year-old.

And it is one of this season's surprise performers who could pay the price.

"There is a moment in every player’s career when their role will change," Keown wrote in his column in the Daily Mail.Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes continued to make huge contributions at Old Trafford deep into their thirties.

"Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes continued to make huge contributions at Old Trafford deep into their thirties.

"Like Giggs and Scholes, Rooney must be intelligent about the situation he faces. He can’t play in a deep-lying midfield role as he will struggle to cover the ground Ander Herrera did against Leicester.

"But there’s no reason why he couldn’t play in the Juan Mata role.

"With Herrera deep and Paul Pogba and Mata further forward, there was far more balance to United’s midfield and Rooney would have succeeded in that system."

Mata was deployed in the number 10 role on Saturday afternoon, and the diminutive Spaniard thrived against the reigning Premier League champions - scoring the team's second goal and providing the assist for Marcus Rashford's goal just before half time.

United fans, therefore, might be questioning Keown's suggestion on the back of such a complete performance in the attacking third from Mourinho's men, and Mata in particular.

Nevertheless, while Rooney was dropped this weekend, there is no doubt that he will have a role to play this season.

And, having struggled leading the line and faced intense criticism when retreating into a deeper role, the number 10 position could be the answer.

The question, then, becomes; is Rooney ready to admit that is his best position, and will Mourinho give him a chance to impress any time soon?

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Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Premier League
Juan Mata
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
David de Gea

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