Teddy Sheringham thinks he knows exactly why Wayne Rooney is struggling

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Wayne Rooney's spell on the Manchester United bench continued over the weekend as, for the third game running, the England captain was left out of Jose Mourinho's starting XI.

And, given Rooney's struggles this season and United's improved attacking displays since he took to the bench, it doesn't look like the veteran forward will be reinstated anytime soon.

But, what exactly has gone wrong for Rooney this year that means he is having to watch games from the sidelines? According to United icon Teddy Sheringham, it is all about his attitude come game time.

Speaking to TalkSPORT,  via ESPN, the man who scored that goal in the Red Devils' 1999 Champions League final win over Bayern Munich wasn't pulling any punches as he described Rooney as "half the player" he used to be.

"I've been saying for a long time now that Wayne Rooney doesn't have the bite and spark he had about five years ago. Without that horrible nastiness, he's half the player.

"He has got to ask himself some serious questions. What is it that makes him a great player? For me, that is it."

And, according to the former England striker, Rooney's game has been suffering as a result for far longer than the last few months.

"If he can get that back, if he can start performing on the edge again, which made him who he was, then I think you've still got a player there but I haven't seen that for the last 18 months to two years."

For much of his career, Rooney has actually come in for scrutiny for the way he often plays the game on the edge in terms of tackles on opponents and arguments with officials.

However, Sheringham clearly believes that it is his nasty streak - the one seen moments before Rooney scored his famous goal against Newcastle as he was arguing with the referee - that made the 30-year-old the player he was.

"You ask centre-halves who have played against him six or seven years ago and are playing against him now -- it's a different footballer," he said.

"The Wayne Rooney of six or seven years ago was a horrible, nasty man who you didn't want to play against. That's not the case at the moment."

It remains to be seen whether the United star is able to regain that spark. In that regard, being benched for three consecutive games by Mourinho might be exactly what Rooney needed to get that anger back in his game.

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Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
England Football
Juan Mata
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Teddy Sheringham
David de Gea

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