Talking point: Will Rooney be a major player in Jose’s plans?

Will Rooney

By Andy Jones

  • Rooney played in midfield for United towards end of last season
  • Also played in midfield for England in Euro 2016
  • Mourinho says he doesn’t see Rooney playing there for him

Following on from the Euro’s, Wayne Rooney might have thought he’d done enough in England’s midfield to convince the Mourinho that his long-term future for the club was in the middle of the park.

After watching Jose Mourinho’s press conference yesterday, he might have to rethink his plans.

It’s clear that Mourinho doesn’t see him in midfield, after saying: “For me he will be a nine, a ten, a nine and a half but not a 6, not even an 8”.

Rooney has escaped without much criticism from the Euros in France, with his performances appearing to slip under the radar, and the press making Raheem Sterling this years scapegoat.

If you watched him during the tournament, and indeed in the latter stages of the Premier league season, you’d see that although his pass completion stats are high, the passes mean nothing.

Rooney doesn’t impact the game from midfield

Very few assists, very few passes in and around the opposition area, very little impact. Despite Rooney claiming that dropping back into midfield was a “natural progression”

Despite what the pundits on BBC and ITV will tell you, and the positive spin from the Rooney camp, the facts are he offers nothing in midfield.

Mourinho was quick to dispel the myth surrounding Rooney in the middle of the park, saying: “You can tell me his pass is amazing, but my pass is amazing too without pressure”

Ibrahimović will surely be the key striker, given his standing in the game, and the close relationship he has with the new manager.

Later in the day, Mourinho spoke to MUTV and heaped praise on Marcus Rashford. Who was criminally underused by Roy Hodgson and said:

“I think they (Zlatan and Rashford) can be an amazing complement for each other, 34 plus 18 divided by two is the prefect age for a football player”.

Where will Rooney fit in?

Its doubtful Rooney could play wide right as he did during the time when United had a free flowing attacking trio of Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez.

So that leaves the number 10 position as his likely starting place. Whether he has the ability to make that position his own, only time will tell.

Rooney will have to hit the ground running when the season kicks off away to Bournemouth as Mourinho is likely to be less patient than both Moyes and Van Gaal.

Mourinho, known for his mind games on a par with Sir Alex, might be throwing a challenge to Rooney. As opposed to throwing him under a bus, whether Wayne still has the fight as he reaches the twilight of his career remains to be seen.

However under Jose, there are no longer any seats on the bus for passengers.

 

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