The diminishing attacking role of Manchester United's Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney 2014

A look at Wayne Rooney's statistics over the past four seasons - is he contributing more to the attack or defence?

Wayne Rooney has faced a lot of scrutiny to begin the 2015-16 Premier League season. The Manchester United captain is without a goal in his first three matches of the season as Louis van Gaal's side have only scored twice at the start of the campaign.

The 29-year-old went more than three hours himself before testing a goalkeeper for the first time, and has only had two shots on target during 270 minutes of league action this season.

Rooney plays as the central striker in van Gaal's 4-2-3-1 formation and has plenty of playmakers around him with Juan Mata, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay and the two full-backs putting crosses into the box.

However, the striker is getting more involved in creating chances for Depay, Mata and co than getting in many goalscoring situations himself.

The tables below show the decline in Wayne Rooney's attacking contribution over the past five seasons and three games.  Stats from 2011-12 are from his best goalscoring season when he netted 27 under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Following the acquisition of Robin van Persie, who was the Premier League's top scorer in his first season at Old Trafford, Rooney hit only 12 goals in Sir Alex's final season, the same number he scored last season.  In between, he netted 17 Premier League goals under David Moyes/Ryan Giggs.

Wayne Rooney 2015-16:

  Mins per GameShots per GameAvg Shots on TargetGoals per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 90 1.67 0.67 0 3

Wayne Rooney 2014-15:

  Mins per GameShots per GameAvg Shots on TargetGoals per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 87.15 2.39 0.82 0.36 33

Wayne Rooney 2013-14:

  Mins per GameShots per GameAvg Shots on TargetGoals per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 84.41 3.48 1.48 0.59 29

Wayne Rooney 2012-13:

  Mins per GameShots per GameAvg Shots on TargetGoals per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 74.78 3.19 1.3 0.44 27

Wayne Rooney 2011-12:

  Mins per GameShots per GameAvg Shots on TargetGoals per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 83.5 4.62 2.06 0.79 34

Wayne Rooney was deployed as a striker for each of the first three seasons in the tables above, whilst he spent more time in central midfield than up front in 2014-15.  His numbers clearly dip.

With Robin van Persie missing 17 games in 2013-14, Rooney's shots and goals ration both go up again on the season before when the Dutch striker played all 38.

The numbers for this season, albeit we're only three games in, will be of worry to United fans.

Defensively, the United captain's game has also changed over the years.  The numbers below highlight that his previous two seasons saw him contribute much more off the ball in winning it back for his side.  Perhaps a relief to United fans to see him not busting his gut off the ball to start this season, although conserving his energy for attacks hasn't exactly worked either.

Wayne Rooney 2015-16:

  Mins per GameInterceptions per GameTackles per GameFouls per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 90 0.67 0.33 0.67 3

Wayne Rooney 2014-15:

  Mins per GameInterceptions per GameTackles per GameFouls per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 87.15 0.88 1.09 1.09 33

Wayne Rooney 2013-14:

  Mins per GameInterceptions per GameTackles per GameFouls per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 84.41 1 1 1.07 29

Wayne Rooney 2012-13:

  Mins per GameInterceptions per GameTackles per GameFouls per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 74.78 0.48 0.74 1 27

Wayne Rooney 2011-12:

  Mins per GameInterceptions per GameTackles per GameFouls per GameAppearances
Wayne Rooney 83.5 0.44 0.65 0.85 34

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