How do you solve a problem like Wayne Rooney?
Jose Mourinho needs the answer to that very question right now with the club captain struggling to get a game for club and country at the moment.
When he did play earlier in the campaign, he was used largely in a deeper role. At the time, that was totally understandable with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring goals freely at the start of his United career meaning there was no room for Rooney up-front.
However, the Swede has scored only once in his previous eight matches and there are calls for the 35-year-old to be dropped for the coming matches.
Both Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial would be hoping to replace Zlatan if he is left out of the starting line-up, but could it mean a return to a striking role for Rooney?
That’s what his teammates are hoping is the case.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, “a number of United players believe the 31-year-old can still have a major impact in the No 9 role.”
United have scored just two goals in the last four domestic matches and the Portuguese boss may look to freshen up his attacking line-up for the clash against Burnley on Saturday.
Rooney has notched 246 goals for United during his career and is the record goalscorer for England - so he’s certainly more than capable of improving his side’s goal tally.
When Mourinho arrived at the Theatre of Dreams this summer, he outlined Rooney’s best position almost immediately, insisted he wouldn’t use him a central midfielder.
Mourinho on Rooney's position
"In football there are many jobs on the field," said Mourinho.
"The one that is more difficult to find is the one that puts the ball in the net. Players change during the years of course, their qualities change, so it is normal that a player at his [Wayne's] age changes a little bit.
"However, something that will never change is the natural appetite to put the ball in the net. Maybe he is not a striker anymore, but he will never be a no.6 for me, he will never be someone playing 60 metres from the goal.
"You can tell me his passes are amazing - yes, they are amazing, but my passes are also amazing without pressure. There are many players with a great pass, but there aren't as many players who can put the ball in the net. For me he will be a [number] 9, a 10, or a 9-and-a-half, but not a 6 or even an 8."
However, Rooney was seen playing as a central midfielder in the early part of this season and his performances suffered as a result.
Maybe a return to a number nine role is the answer to Rooney’s problems - his teammates certainly think so.
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