Wayne Rooney, the new United midfielder?
United secured a 3-0 win against Newcastle United at the Sports Direct Arena last Sunday night. Set piece goals from Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra and a superb long range effort from England midfielder Tom Cleverley sealed the victory. Ferguson set up with a four four two diamond formation with van Persie and Welbeck up front and Rooney slotted into the central attacking midfield role.
Rooney showed his versatility and class as he was the catalyst in midfield providing key passes and assists. The new look midfield simply outplayed the Newcastle side who came an impressive 5th last season. Rooney seemed to relieve Sir Alex Ferguson of his selection pressures as the three world class strikers Robin Van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney gelled well together.
In recent seasons Rooney has played the holding striker role playing just behind the likes of Javier Hernandez or Danny Welbeck. Rooney has lost a bit of pace and acceleration that characterised his youth years and a new role in midfield simply highlights his class and ability to adapt into different positions. His vision and ability to read the game has improved and his aggression and improvisation has not changed which makes an attacking midfield role perfect for Rooney.
After the Newcastle match Rooney tweeted “Really enjoying my new midfield role, always involved.” It seems the more involvement Rooney gets the better. He combined in attack with Welbeck and van Persie seemingly proving he can adjust and still perform highly. A moment arrived when Hatem Ben Arfa dodged Patrice Evra and noticing the danger Rooney swept in making a timed slide tackle. It just reminded the onlookers of his time at youth level where he could potentially occupy any position. Cheick Tiote’s midfield style is mainly based on strength and Rooney seemed to outplay him in all categories.
Rooney’s season which has been interrupted by injury mentioned that he is not worried about not scoring. Rooney also said that United have players who can score goals so he is not worried about scoring. Rooney’s new midfield role may breathe energy and spark into his season and for United. It seems it could be time for Ferguson to lock Rooney into the central midfield position for the time being. Manchester United face Stoke City at home after the international round on Sunday the 21st of October.