Paul Scholes: Wayne Rooney should replace Juan Mata for Manchester United v Manchester City in Premier League

Rooney Warm Up

Paul Scholes explains why Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal should start Wayne Rooney instead of Juan Mata against Manchester City in the derby on Sunday.

Paul Scholes believes that Wayne Rooney should be included in Manchester United’s starting line-up against Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday.

Captain Rooney is available for selection once again following his three-match suspension. The England international forward was sent off against West Ham United last month.

During the 29-year-old’s absence, United have picked up just five points from three matches and have slipped down to eighth in the Premier League table, three points behind fourth-placed West Ham United and 10 off the pace.

Rooney is seen by many as an automatic pick by United manager Louis van Gaal, who made the Englishman the team captain at the start of the season.

Scholes, a United legend, believes that his former teammate should start for the Red Devils at Etihad Stadium on Sunday in place of attacking midfielder Juan Mata.

‘As for United, my key change would be Wayne Rooney back in for Juan Mata’, the 39-year-old wrote in The Independent. ‘I cannot see Louis van Gaal doing any different.

'The Chelsea game just seemed to pass Mata by on Sunday and that is what will count against him. He seemed to be overpowered. Rooney has a great record against City and he just has to play’.

United will need a physical presence against City, and Rooney can provide that more than Mata. However, the former Everton star has not played competitive club football for a month now – and that could be something for Van Gaal to think about.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for MANCHESTER CITY team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch