According to ex Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann, Wayne Rooney must improve his performances or his Manchester United career will soon be over.
Speaking on Talksport, Hamaan said “He has to play better and if he doesn’t soon, he will have a problem getting in the Man United team. He is best suited playing off a front man. If he can’t play there, he can’t play.”
Rooney has been the subject of intense scrutiny since the beginning of this season, when he started off as the lone striker and failed to make any real impact. Since the arrival of Martial, he has dropped into a more familiar number 10 position, and yet has failed to find the form that we are so used to seeing from him in a United shirt.
He did suffer a slight hamstring injury when away with England, which also led him to miss a few games for United. After his return he has looked slightly sluggish and has scored a solitary goal in the Premier League this season with his strike against Sunderland.
History, however, teaches us not to write off Rooney just yet. As Ferguson once wrote in his book “Wayne needed to be careful. … If he missed a couple of weeks for United it could take him four or five games to get his sharpness back”. Had united had adequate support, Rooney may have been afforded the luxury to gain fitness before coming back into the team, but with the lack of attacking options, Van Gaal does not have much choice but to play his captain.
His presence in the team also means young players such as Martial and Depay are shielded from additional pressure were he not on the pitch.
Van Gaal has continued to support his captain and now it is down to Rooney to start showing he still has that fire in his belly to produce at the highest level. Rooney is a very charismatic and proud footballer and inside he must be hurting with the comments being made about him. He will need to turn those negatives into motivating factors and prove the critics wrong.