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Wayne Rooney : Time For A Position Change?

With all of transfer talk about Manchester United looking to find that evasive successor for Paul Scholes, Sir Alex Ferguson may look no further than Wayne Rooney.

Tottenham’s Luka Modric and Inter Milan’s Wesley Sneijder have been the two players that are closely related to Scholes’ style of play, but Ferguson could very well be holding out to see how Rooney would cope in this position.

If Ferguson were to do this, it would not be the first time that he has replaced a living United legend with someone that has been at and knows the club inside and out.

Over the last half of this preceding season, the United No. 10 was given a more free, creative role, which everyone saw the player of old come back out of his shell and lead the club to its 19th title.

A lot of people, this blog included, wrote Rooney off after his inconceivable notion that Manchester United lacked ambition, but his timely goals and never-say-die performances made those comments a thing of the past. Now, he could face a daunting task of being the inventive force behind the strikers to get the Reds back to the days of free-flowing football.

For most of us in the modern generation, Scholes laid the foundation of expectation for attack-minded midfielders with his clever runs, thunderous goals and perfectly placed passes. The bar might be set at an unrealistic level, but if anyone could reach that height it is Wayne.

As most players do, Rooney had a tough go, but during that nine month barren spell when he lost his bearings and could not find his form, he allowed outside interfernce detract him from contributing . It also did not help that someone, his agent Paul Stretford, was chirping in his ear about the amount of money he would make if he move across Manchester. But, nonetheless, the United talisman, with a little coaxing from Ferguson, eventually came to his senses and got back to what initially endeared himself to the Old Trafford faithful.

No matter what club one supports, they should all recognize Rooney as one of the most talented players, because of how good he is at playing a wide variety of positions on the pitch. Because of his abilities to find the target, which already ranks 12th with 147 goals in his 322 appearances, Wayne has always been seen as a center forward.

One of the major difficulties a manager has with a player like Rooney is where to play him in attempt to fully utilize all of his attributes. Up until this point, Rooney has, primarily, played up front with various partners or on his own.

Rooney, now 25, is close to entering the prime age of his career, so if he is going to make this shift now is the time to do it. He is one of the most multifaceted players in the Premier League, but he showed that he could shine on the European stage, as well. It would have been nice to see Rooney drop a little deeper against Barcelona in the 2011 UEFA Champions League Final, but for whatever reason, it just was not meant to happen.

There is no question that Rooney loves to be involved with the play, and it would be very smart to get your best player as many touches as possible, which this new role would do for him. Like with Scholes, one thing that Wazza would need to curb is his is over aggressive nature. This is not saying that he needs to eliminate his physical approach, but just not to let it get away from him.

By, even temporarily, pulling Wayne Rooney back next would allow Sir Alex Ferguson the time to let the next group of young center midfielders at Manchester United to show if they will have the wherewithal to cope at big club or not.

Submitted by The United Religion




  1. Ben

    June 24, 2011 at 11:07 am

    rooney is not suited for a role in midfield.
    he plays some very good long balls during games, but his overall passing is sloppy. his change of direction is much to slow, so he won’t beat his man, either. you can’t afford someone in midfield who is neither an extraordinary passer nor a dribbler.

  2. Saaed

    June 24, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Agreed Ben,
    As mentioned also is his temperament, when things aren’t going well. I think his best position is behind Chicarito linking the midfield. But he was cut out by Barca, when he tried to drop deeper to be involved more, he got an ear bashing from Lord Ferguson of Trafford, as we all saw.
    I think English football is still stuck in the past…you need “A” creative MF, outhouse built defender and “old fashion” centre forward. Barca have none of those.
    They have a MF ALL creative, confident on the ball and ALL hard working.
    I think SAF will be emulating Barca…watch this space.

  3. timbo

    June 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    What absolute garbage. The author must be tripping on LSD if he considers Rooney to be anything other than what he really is – an extremely over-rated, over-hyped individual who would be thoroughly incapable of playing midfield under any circumstances. A good attacking midfielder must have intelligence, vision, situational awareness and the precious ability to be able to find space and time at will. Technically he must also be an able to consistently pass the ball well, hold it comfortably against defenders, and possess the kind of touch that allows snap decisions to be made with little effort or thought. Rooney is utterly bereft of ANY of these attributes, and by nature and temperament is far more the leech rather than the provider.

    If there is any player at United with the kind of qualities described capable of taking on the midfield role it would have to be Dimitar Berbatov. Of all the players at United only two, the Bulgarian and Nani, have the kind of skill and flair to compare with the magic of Barcelona’s midfield, and only Berbatov of the two has the quiet calm to carry off his duties with assurance and consistency – though Nani is getting better.

    It was a pretty sad indictment of where United currently stand, as bastions of all things British in football, that the one player at the club who’d be a natural fit at Barcelona was left completely out of the squad for the CL final. Sir Alex Ferguson may well be a master of assembling squads capable of taking home domestic trophies with the kind of play that encompasses all the traits (speed, toughness, physique), English football is known for, but as far as European competition is concerned he remains a tactically naive manager incapable of coming to terms with Continental requirements either in style of play or in player selection/acquisition.

    • Kev

      June 24, 2011 at 7:47 pm

      Berbatov in midfield? Funniest thing I’ve ever read.
      Rooney is far better suited to the role.

    • isaac

      June 25, 2011 at 8:59 am

      rooney over-rated….u must be on drugs woman!!!

  4. gui

    June 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    i dont see why you guys are saying he cant play in CM. He has got all the attributes for it

  5. baxter

    June 24, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Yes, the tactically naïve manager that has led United to the semi-finals in all but one of the past 7 seasons, including 3 finals in the last 4, and a victory along the way. Very naïve indeed

  6. Kev

    June 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    If we don’t sign a world class attacking midfielder, we have no option but to play Rooney in midfield.
    We have alot of good midfielders, but sadly no great ones.
    I have high hopes for pogba, Morrison and tunnicliffe though. Probably 2 years away from first team though.
    If we don’t bid big for sneijer or modric I will be pissed off personally.
    The 2 signings we’ve made are good, but don’t improve the team in the short term.
    We should swap nani for Wesley if we can’t afford him. Why won’t Alex spend the ronaldo money If we’ve got it.
    I won’t spend a penny more on utd, until they spend the supposed 100 million they have.
    Love utd, hate glaziers.

  7. Saeed

    June 24, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    This is a good article, as it poses a question that many believe, that is, Rooney can be a creative MF.

    Just because he pings a few long balls during a game,under no pressure doesn’t make him a “consistent” playmaker.

    We have the failed playmaker, playing defensive MF with his 3 yard sideways passes,giving him the title of one of the “best” at pass completion…utter non sense.

    Timbo is spot on, the closest replacement would be Berba,calm under pressure,can hold the ball and bring others into play.

    Yes SAF is very successful in Prem, but ALL MU fans must admit the 2 wins in Champs League,1 extra time,being totally outplayed by Bayern, 1 on pen. This isn’t the stuff of legends.Only the fans will remember MU getting to a final, but the record book shows the winner.

    If Sanchez is available for £40m, then bloody well pay it. Ronaldo went for E80m and all that came back was Bebe and Obertan. The Glazers extended family have been taking out personal loans for their family on the back of MU.

  8. tony

    June 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Rooney has long been playing central mid-field. Do you see how much he tracks back to that position? He is far more effective a CM than a striker.

  9. rick

    June 24, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    berba in the midfield is the worse idea i have ever heard. he doesn’t work hard enough for the team so he sure as hell isnt going to go into any challanges let alone track back to assist in defence. that is a key attribute for a CM. wazza will work hard for the team as he always has and could thrive in a scholes type of role once he gains more experience playing there. plus with the likes of pogba and tunnicliffe coming through the ranks in the CM i think united will be fine.

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  11. kevin lumasia

    June 25, 2011 at 12:19 pm

    Rooney should still play as a striker.However how much he is talented to play various positions,he can not assume the role of Paul scholes.

  12. Saeed

    June 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    The point was, the CLOSEST thing to a creative MF. Think what is needed for a creative MF and what you DON’T want.

    What you want is:
    Calm under pressure
    Hold ball up
    Bring players into play
    CONSISTANT killer passes, ie Scholes.

    What you don’t want is:
    Headless chicken running
    Reckless, being booked and sent off
    No impact on the game
    Losing possession too easily.

    AGAIN, the closest thing at MU is Berba, not saying put him there,but an example that Rooney cannot play there CONSISTENTLY as he doesn’t have what it takes.
    I also put question marks about Modric who gives the ball away far too much.(look at his pass completion)Which is fine in the Prem, as it’s all about blood and guts. But won’t work in Champs League.

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