Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has been writing about the club’s forwards in a piece for the Telegraph.
Having spent much of the campaign in a midfield role, United skipper Wayne Rooney played up front in the FA Cup fifth round tie against Preston North End on Monday, and his movement was a constant threat.
On another day, had club-record signing Angel Di Maria been a little sharper with his passing, Rooney could have ended his 2015 scoring duck long before he netted from the penalty spot.
And having seen Rooney returned to more of a forward role, Neville believes United fans may be seeing far less of the Radamel Falcao-Robin van Persie partnership in what remains of the current campaign.
The two world-class strikers have failed to develop an effective partnership this season, but that has been as much down to United’s formation and style of play as any wastefulness on the part of the star-names.
Falcao and van Persie require service, and too often this season United have not utilised their creative players in a way to get the best out of either the Netherlands captain or the Colombian international.
Imagine if players akin to Ryan Giggs, David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo were playing balls in to the current United forward-line; they would score a bag full.
Instead the club’s play is too slow, requiring the forwards to do much of the work, which is something Rooney thrives at but his fellow Old Trafford forwards less so.
Writing in his column Neville said, “In this current system, Rooney is a better bet at centre-forward. If van Persie and Falcao are going to play as a pair, you would need to play with wide players who would service them.
“They are both box players who lack mobility and blistering pace.”
So are United fans about to see Rooney given a prolonged run up front?
Only time will tell, but unless van Gaal opts for a more attack-minded approach from his midfielders, the partnership of van Persie and Falcao is unlikely to click into gear any time soon.