Manchester United have been tipped with signing plenty of central midfield players this summer; some more creative, some more aggressive and some just to come in as squad fillers.
The abundance of strikers at the club means that not all of them are always going to play, which has forced players like Rooney and Danny Welbeck to adapt at times this season and play in different midfield roles.
Rooney is certainly good enough to play in the midfield on a regular basis and he already drops off a lot of the time, to dip into the midfield as he plays behind Robin Van Persie who has the central role up front.
Rooney has done a midfield job for United before when the side has been short in that area and it’s something he’s certainly good enough to be able to do on a regular basis at Old Trafford.
Rooney is one of the most passionate players that United own and he has come a long way from the reckless young man, who used to go around looking to kick the opposition into the air whenever he lost the ball.
That’s significant because in games where United have been dominated through the middle this season, all they seem to have needed to counter that is a little bit of passion, grit and leadership which are all things that Rooney could provide.
So are his core skills good enough for him to play in the midfield? Certainly, his range of passing is as good as anyone else at the club and he’s one of the few reliable players the side has when it comes to possession and ball retention.
Rooney is just as effective as Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs or any other high quality midfielder when it comes to getting on the ball and putting it anywhere he likes over the rest of the pitch.
His fitness is as good as anyone else at the club, which means he can cope with the extra yardage that midfield players often have to cover, as the game, shape and momentum of the team changes.
If he played a midfield role, it may also release other players to go and play in positions where they are more effective. Shinji Kagawa is a good example. Kagawa is most effective when he plays at the top of the midfield.
When he plays in central midfield, he can often get overrun or out muscled because of his size. Rooney’s presence in the middle would allow him to go and play in his more natural position which would ultimately aid the attack of the side.
A midfield role is certainly something which Rooney will more than likely consider over the next few years. It’s something he may have to embrace if he wants to prolong his playing career and it’s certainly something he can do effectively.
However, Sir Alex Ferguson has never been one to take such a huge gamble like this which means it’s more likely that Rooney will be retained as the immense striker he is at least for the time being.
Could Rooney do a job in midfield?
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