Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Do these stats show that Wayne Rooney should be dropped by Louis Van Gaal?

1.jpg

In the wake of his team’s 0-0 derby draw at home against Manchester City, the England striker’s name was trending on Twitter. For all of the wrong reasons.

Over the course of the entire match, his stats were as follows: 0 shots, 0 key passes, 0 crosses, 55 per cent pass accuracy, 6x disposed. So no shots and not even a chance to set up a team-mate, in 90 minutes of football at Old Trafford.

Worse, with 50 touches of the ball, Rooney had fewer touches than any of United’s outfield players, including Juan Mata, who was subbed off after 66 minutes. And yet somehow, even with such scant possession, he lost the ball 28 times - more than he kept hold of it - and five times more than United’s second biggest offender, Marcos Rojo.

Towards the end of the game, right as the hosts started to apply some pressure, Louis Van Gaal took him from the no.10 position and put him in the no.9 role, while shoving the lively and altogether more impressive Anthony Martial out to the wing; which only highlighted what a poor game Rooney was having, leaving many United fans bemused as to why he was still on the field at all.

After the game, Van Gaal refused to comment on his captain’s performance, saying: “I have to talk every week about Rooney, why? It is your opinion. I don’t give any more answers about Wayne Rooney. I am sick of them.”

We're not surprised. It's not the first time the Dutch coach has been under pressure to drop Rooney, the same striker who scored that now-iconic overhead kick in the Manchester Derby of four years ago, and looked simply lost yesterday. Going by the reaction on social media, it seems even the staunchest of United fans believe Rooney’s not quite the player he once was.

Over time, Rooney has developed into an entirely different player than the cocksure teen who blitzed onto the Premier League scene with Everton, beating men at will and leaving defenders for dead. While his football brain and composure may have grown, his original sharpness, burst of pace and ability to beat a man have all but deserted him, forcing him to drop deeper to pick the ball up and influence the game. Even Paul Scholes, who himself used the pace around him to pull the strings at United, has said midfield might be the best position for the striker as he enters the twilight of his career.

The finishing is still there of course – he did just notch his 50th England goal (admittedly most of which have come against lowly European opposition in friendlies and qualifiers) - - but he can't seem to get on the ball or find a position to get in front of goal.

So, could he be suffering from career burnout having peaked too early? Could confidence be all that’s standing between a drought and a few hat-tricks? Is Van Gaal’s team actually supplying him enough to get on the ball? Or Hodgson’s for that matter?

What we can be sure of is that Rooney finds himself at a real crossroads right now, and with Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane scoring for fun at the moment, the striker will want to find his form - and quick - if he wants to cement that starting berth at next summer's European Championships.

It might just be his final chance to show planet football that the world class tag was justified.


More


Related

pitch-invader.PNG

This Pitch Invader Is Basically James Bond

football.png

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Manchester Derby

1.jpg

Man City are being investigated by UEFA over fans booing the CL theme

Comments

More

Anthony Joshua wants to fight on the Mayweather-McGregor undercard

The big showdown just got bigger

by Dave Fawbert
22 May 2017

Power and Pain: The incredible loneliness of being superhumanly strong

What drives a person to gain super strength? We travel with strongman Laurence Shahlaei to find out...

by Matt Blake
19 May 2017

We have a contender for the greatest own goal ever scored

Move over Jamie Pollock

by Dave Fawbert
17 May 2017

Conor McGregor has agreed a deal with the UFC to fight Mayweather

Terms have seemingly been arranged

by Dave Fawbert
16 May 2017

Anthony Joshua's next fight has been pencilled in for October

And it won't be at Wembley

by Dave Fawbert
16 May 2017

Spurs fan leaves farewell note to pillar that blocked his view

So long, White Hart Lane

by Dave Fawbert
15 May 2017

Football is on a journey to finally dealing well with mental health

Aaron Lennon's recent situation has led to other players approaching the PFA about their own mental health, but the sport still has a long way to go

by Tom Victor
10 May 2017

Kings of Leon's bassist learnt the hard way not to slag off wrestling

Don't go after WWE, because it'll come back at you much harder

by Matt Tate
09 May 2017

Leo Messi lookalike in trouble for looking too much like Leo Messi

Carnage on the streets of Iran

by Matt Tate
09 May 2017

Angry manager Nelson Vivas has the best reaction to getting sent-off

A manager ripping his shirt off in anger is everything we never knew we needed from football

by Dave Fawbert
08 May 2017