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

This is what it's like to support the craziest football club in the UK

The bizarre goings-on at Leyton Orient continue

by Dave Fawbert
20 Jan 2017

#Pogba Lost His Head to the Emoji Keyboard Yesterday

When the Theatre of Dreams became the Theatre of Content

by James Bird
16 Jan 2017

Rio Ferdinand's reaction to Ibrahimovic's equaliser is perfect

He certainly enjoyed this one

16 Jan 2017

Remembering Pierre van Hooijdonk, the original football ‘striker’

What really happened at Nottingham Forest?

by Dave Fawbert
13 Jan 2017

People are remembering Graham Taylor's defence of John Barnes

"You're talking about another human being"

by Dave Fawbert
12 Jan 2017

Fifa has voted to expand the World Cup to 48 teams

More fun or devaluing the competition?

by Dave Fawbert
10 Jan 2017

Football's most mortifying forgotten social media profiles

The Bebos and the MySpaces they thought were lost to history

05 Jan 2017

The ultimate six-pack guide; how to get washboard abs

by Sam Diss
03 Jan 2017

"I was the goalkeeper that should've been chipped by Cantona in 1996"

by David Preece
22 Dec 2016

Watch Bayern Munich's Thiago play a weighted pass to Santa

Santa Baby, put the ball in front of my run, for me

by James Bird
22 Dec 2016