It’s an argument that has been raging on for a few years now, and its again forcing its way to the forefront of people’s minds. Should Wayne Rooney drop back into central midfield?
The notion was bore initially when Robin van Persie joined the club, seen as a potential solution to how to fit both players into the starting eleven. Rooney’s lack of positional discipline also backed up claims for the move backwards down the pitch (not having to be our main attacking threat and having the freedom to roam is seen as something that would benefit Wayne greatly) and even when he has started there (however infrequent, once that springs to mind immediately) it has been encouraging.
Seeing how creative he can be, and how effective he can be defensively, and also our lack of quality in that position all signs do point to yes on the surface, but things aren’t always quite that simple. Previous cases of a move such as this (Alan Smith for example) have rarely proven fruitful, and when played in the number 10 role Rooney hasn’t exactly shone for club or country. Then factor in the seeming unwillingness of the player himself about the adoption of a new position and suddenly it becomes more complicated than ‘it would suit him to play there’.
Personally I am in favour of him dropping back further, I believe it will save us in the short-term as the pool of attainable/suitable midfield targets gets smaller by the day it would bridge the gap between windows and save a reliance on the crap currently stealing a living, or on the likes of Lawrence who is nowhere near ready to answer our problems there. It would also mean more games for Rooney, as Van Persie is presumed to be van Gaals preference up top, in a position he can have a big influence on things in, as he doesn’t fit the number 10 role that Juan Mata dominates so majestically.
It could completely reinvent him, and us, it solves the headache of having to play one of him or Mata out of position, and incorporates our three biggest threats without having to change system or play them in unnatural positions. A spine of de Gea, a quality centre back, Rooney, Mata and van Persie is a far nicer sight than a spine of four of the above and Fellaini or Anderson surely? Where players should be signed if they are available (Vidal for example), the possibility of the move should always be in the back of the mind of Louis van Gaal, as it could well save us buying a Fellaini type player out of pure desperation, or if the likes of Strootman is signed it will afford him the opportunity to regain his full fitness rather than being rushed back and potentially worsening his injuries. Desperation has sullied us before, and it can be avoided again here. It’s not a very attractive trait.
By Matt Henderson
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