Wayne Rooney produced a superb performance in midfield for Manchester United away at Stoke City.
There have never been any questions over the passion and commitment of Wayne Rooney, as he’s the sort of player who will play any role and do any job that Sir Alex Ferguson asks of him.
Yesterday Fergie asked him to sit in the middle of the park and pull the strings, which he did superbly and he looked as though he could easily play a central midfield role for the rest of his career.
What made Rooney’s performance ‘out of position’ so impressive was the composure he showed throughout the match against a very physical team, that tried to knock him off the ball on more than one occasion.
The middle of the team is an area where United have struggled recently with defeats to Chelsea in the FA Cup and Manchester City in the league being attributed to a slight weakness in that area.
The manager responded and he used one of his most dogged players to fill in for an out of form Tom Cleverley, with Rooney playing so well it’s difficult to see why he should move from that position.
Rooney kept the ball better than any other United player yesterday, with good movement, a great first touch and offloading to other players quickly when he was under pressure.
He looked fit enough to play that role consistently, which is one of the more physically demanding roles for any player in any team because of the constant movement which is required throughout a match.
It’s also a role which plays to all of Rooney’s natural urges in this current United team and compliments all of his best attributes.
His vision and his passing have always been two of his biggest assets and he was able to play balls into feet and into space, behind the Stoke defence as well as Cleverley, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs could have done.
The central midfield role is also something which allows Rooney to be the main man in the United team, with most of the play going through him. This could have been a shrewd decision by Fergie, to show Rooney that he is still a very important player for United when stories have started to appear relating to his future.
He’s always been a goal scorer and some of his best work comes in the attack of the United team but he looked very at home playing a central midfield role yesterday and it’s something he should definitely do more.
If United can convert him into that sort of player then it will mean no need to go and buy an over priced midfielder this summer, no need to sell any of the strikers at the club and it will improve the side’s chances of signing the next heavyweight forward to drive the side on again.
Should Rooney stay in central midfield?
image: © vagueonthehow