When Jose Mourinho was asked where he would be playing Wayne Rooney this season, the Manchester United manager clearly stated that the English striker would be played up front. And so far, the manager has kept his promise.
Rooney was played behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the Englishman struggled to get things together at Vicarage Road. The 30-year-old just couldn’t string a proper pass together and his afternoon ended with a booking and more questions about his role in the side.
The Englishman had no touches of the ball in the opposition’s penalty box and even had a number of misplaced passes. Rooney was poor with the ball as he completed zero dribbles during the game. His end product was just not there for United and it has been a similar story since the start of the season.
Jose Mourinho was expected to change things around at the club and rejuvenate players but not one starter has done anything worth notice at United. Rooney’s position in the club is under threat and his role in the side certainly has to be looked into.
While many agree that the Manchester United captain can still perform on the pitch, if he is played as a striker. But Mourinho does not want to play with two strikers and this means Rooney should be dropped to the bench.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and even Juan Mata are better number 10s for Manchester United and not playing them is something criminal from the Portuguese manager. Having brought one of the best-attacking midfielders from the Bundesliga and not using him is a poor decision and this goes to show that even Mourinho is afraid of dropping the United captain. Yes, the Armenian has had his moments of humiliation, but that one performance cannot judge his quality.
The goal scoring workload is now being taken up by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and even Marcus Rashford seems to be a better option at the moment than the 30-year-old Rooney. The Englishman only had one shot on goal and even that did not test Heurelho Gomes all that much.
Rooney even lost the ball twice in the game, which again did not help United in their game against the Hornets. Another issue is that the player does not have the pace, yes, he tracks back at times, but he is really inefficient during the counters. While Mkhitaryan or Mata might not be as good a tackler as Rooney, they do have a lot more pace and would provide the side with a lot of attacking intent as well.
Manchester United play Leicester City in the next game and we know that the Premier League champions will not be easy to beat. This is the perfect time to drop the Englishman and play someone else in his position.
And this would be a lesson for Rooney that he needs to do more if he is to play for United. Jose Mourinho has a lot of tough decisions to make but dropping a player that isn’t doing much for the side is easy to make. Mkhitaryan would be the ideal replacement for Rooney and should be the one pulling the strings in attack against Leicester City.