After a week, or two, of heavy criticism, Wayne Rooney was dropped from the Manchester United starting line-up for the game against Leicester, where United won 4-1 and Rooney’s replacement Juan Mata put in a terrific display. United looked more of a threat going forward with Mata using his incredible ability to find space when everyone else is cramped, freeing up the attackers and creating genuine chances. After seeing the performance of United at the weekend, it brings up numerous questions including Wayne Rooney’s future. Today the Mirror reported that Rooney was willing to take a lesser role in the squad but see out his two-year contract with absolutely no interest in moving to the MLS. They state:
“Wayne Rooney is prepared to accept he is no longer an automatic pick for Manchester United following Jose Mourinho’s decision to drop him.
“Skipper Rooney was benched by new manager Mourinho for Saturday’s win over Leicester after a poor run of form, and now knows he can no longer expect to be one of the first names on the Old Trafford giants’ team sheet.”
He seemed in good spirits on Saturday in the warm-ups and when he came on for 20 minutes but in all honesty, who wouldn’t on £300k a week. Rooney is undoubtedly a Manchester United legend but his time is dwindling at the top-level, an opinion shared by many including Ian Wright, who in The Sun said:
“It looks like the beginning of the end for Wayne Rooney.
“He looks tired and most of all, he looks forlorn.
“All the stick weighs you down and people have been saying he shouldn’t be in the team since the start of the season. Juan Mata was the difference on Saturday.”
He then compared Rooney’s situation to his own when he had to face the young blood coming through at Arsenal. He named Nicholas Anelka and says it made him realise the end was near.
“The first time a 17 year-old Nicolas Anelka trained with us at Arsenal, I knew I had 18 months left max.
“There was no way I was stopping that tidal wave. He had everything. I was sat on the bench, watching the future. That’s a situation Rooney could find himself in.”
I think there can be no United fans who genuinely think that United would have performed better with Rooney in the team against Leicester and moving forward, I think Rooney will have to accept a lesser role in the squad. Juan Mata looked extremely good, Herrera sitting deeper looked so very composed and Paul Pogba is growing into his box-to-box position and bossed the Leicester game so Rooney has to play as a number 10. Unless there is an injury to Mata I cannot see where Rooney fits in or if he’ll ever regain his starting role.
Is Rooney approaching the end of his United career? Let us know in the comments!