Stats: Did Wayne Rooney reach his peak two seasons ago?

Rooney V Cardiff

Paul Scholes suggests that Wayne Rooney may have already shown the peak of his powers.

Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has said that Wayne Rooney may have peaked a couple of years earlier than is perhaps expected.

The former midfielder suggests that since Rooney played a lot of football at a young age at the highest level, then it is possible that he may have already had his best years.

In his blog for Paddy Power, Scholes said: “Wayne’s peak may have been a lot younger than what we’d expect of footballers traditionally. Age 28 or 29 has been the normal ‘peak’. With Wayne, it could have been when he scored 27 league goals in 2011/2012 when he was 26.

“Wayne might be a player who’d retire come 31 or 32, given the amount of football he’s played. Ryan Giggs has been on the go for ages, but he adjusted his position. Can Wayne do the same? I don’t think Wayne will be able to play centre forward until he’s 34 or 35.”

27 goals was indeed an impressive tally two seasons ago as Rooney made 34 Premier League appearances, when Manchester United narrowly lost out on the Premier League title on goal difference to neighbours Manchester City, averaging a goal just over ever 105 mins.

  TeamPosmins / GoalsAppsMins
Wayne Rooney Manchester United FW 105.15 34 2,839

Last season, however, he only managed to find the net on 12 occasions whilst this season he found the net 17 times. Under David Moyes, and then Ryan Giggs towards the end of the 2013/14 season, he was used far more. But in the season under Moyes, he scored more frequently in absolute terms, and in terms of the amount of time he spent on the pitch. 

2012/13:

  TeamPosmins / GoalsAppsMins
Wayne Rooney Manchester United FW 168.25 27 2,019

2013/14:

  TeamPosmins / GoalsAppsMins
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 144.00 29 2,448

Also in the two seasons that have just gone, it is evident that Rooney has been in and out of the side. Sir Alex Ferguson said that in his last season in charge it was partly down to form whereas in the season that has just passed, Rooney has only been left out in the event of injury.

Below are the statistics for the assists he made for the side for the season that has just passed and the season before, and he has contributed heavily in terms of assists in both seasons yet if you combine that with the goals he falls short compared to his most prolific season of 27 goals and four assists, but it probably demonstrates Rooney as a more rounded player in the two most recent campaigns.  

2013/14:

  TeamPosGoal AssistAppsMins
Wayne Rooney Man Utd FW 10 29 2,448

2012/13:

  TeamPosGoal AssistAppsMins
Wayne Rooney Manchester United FW 10 27 2,019

But with significantly less assists in the 2011/12 season where Scholes says Rooney reached his peak, it could have been down to the fact he was the main man up front, the man that Sir Alex Ferguson turned to to get the lions' share of goals for his side. He would be the man to finish off any move rather than be the provider, as the assists for 2011/12 show below. 

  TeamPosGoal AssistAppsMins
Wayne Rooney Manchester United FW 4 34 2,839

But a lot changed over the course of those seasons. Robin Van Persie was drafted in and he became the man to get the goals which fired United to the Premier League title in 2013, then the change in manager inevitably had an effect on both the playing style and performance of the side. 

It's hard to say Rooney has hit his peak without taking into account all these factors. If he has a prolific season under Louis van Gaal at Old Trafford next season, then some may suggest that's Rooney at his peak as opposed to two years ago. It might take another couple of years before we can assess when the forward's best years have taken place. 

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