Wayne Rooney returned for Manchester United in the FA Cup tie with West Ham United last night and he did not disappoint; well not much anyway. While he grabbed the opening, and only goal of the game to see United through to the fourth round he also had some difficulty from the penalty spot. He blazed his effort from 12 yards high and handsome into the Stretford End to add another miss to his worrying penalty record. At Manchester United he has now failed to convert 10 out of the 27 penalties he has taken in a Manchester United shirt.
It is no surprise. Rooney has never, in my eyes, looked competent from 12 yards and his record speaks for itself.
Nobody puts it better than his club boss Sir Alex Ferguson:
"I think we have to improve on that. There are several great examples over the years. Le Tissier, 47 out of 48. There was a player in Scotland played for Rangers [Johnny Hubbard], 57 in a row. Your penalty kick is your opportunity to take an advantage - whether it's a foul or a handball - of scoring a goal."
What United need from the spot is someone who will always find the back of the net in that situation? Dennis Irwin springs to mind as an excellent example from their recent club history. At the moment there is probably nobody better than Rickie Lambert in the Premier League. A point that Sir Alex himself alluded toward:
"There was talk about the boy Lambert at Southampton who has scored 31 out of 31. That's what penalty kick taking is all about.’’
So who can fill that void at United; while it may not be too costly in some fixtures in close ties in the Champions League or at the top of the table a penalty miss can be extremely important. Michael Carrick is always on the pitch and has taken competent penalties in the past yet really you cannot look past RVP. Sure he missed this season but that could be a blip. The next time Rooney and RVP are both on the field of play and a penalty is awarded it will certainly be interesting to see who gets the nod.
Who do you think should take Manchester United’s penalties?
image: © nasmac