Wayne Rooney – the Golden Boy of Manchester United – has been raising a lot of questions lately and the primary one is whether or not he is past his prime.
Rooney in Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United and Rooney in Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United, are like two different people if comparisons are drawn.
Rooney is one of the most gifted players at the club. But in the past few months his finishing, quickness and also movement inside the box has really taken a dive for the worst. And that is detrimental for a forward. However, in the past, he was known for:
• His smart instincts in attack, on top of his experience.
• He has excellent ball control, and dribbling.
• He can finish well undoubtedly when needed.
• Since he doesn’t need to cover a lot ground like an energetic striker, his endurance is good.
If one really does think about it, Manchester United itself is not the team they used to be under Sir Alex Ferguson. During the game against Leicester City over the weekend, there was an outrage amongst fans on Twitter. Most of them were upset about Van Gaal’s tactics and others resorted to saying things like “Rooney has become fat”.
Going beyond the surface level, it can be judged that Wayne Rooney as a player works better when there is pace around him.
In the game against CSKA Moscow, Anthony Martial made amends for an earlier handball that led to a penalty by scoring a second-half header, but Rooney was again subdued, even if he improved as the game wore on.
Former United team-mate Rio Ferdinand, also in the BT Sport studio, added that he was “squirming” during the first half of the match as United were outplayed by their Russian opponents.
“We were sitting in here in the first-half squirming really at the way Man United were playing, it was slow, it was pedestrian. No real thrust in the team,” he said.
“Second half they came out and had players running off the ball a bit more, putting people in the box, which they didn’t in the first half and they got their rewards.”
While it is true that United lacks the firepower that they once had, it also a fact that at this point, there is not much that can be done to alter that. Rooney’s form has dropped miserably and the poster boy of Old Trafford will need to work on that ahead of the upcoming games.