Van Gaal’s persistence with Rooney is hindering United
Wayne Rooney has come under a lot of criticism this season, with many observers of Premier League football suggesting the Manchester United forward is finished at the top level and should be dropped and even sold. Nevertheless, Manchester United manager Louis Van Gaal has persisted with his captain, even going as far to say as “Rooney is undroppable”. But after taking a closer look at some of Rooney’s numbers, it is a mystery that Van Gaal still regards Rooney as indispensable.
Rooney has had just 9 shots on target in 12 Premier League starts this season and 2 goals. Even if Rooney had scored from every single one of his shots on target in the Premier League this season, he would only have 9 goals, 5 less than Jamie Vardy.
To put these numbers into context, Harry Kane has had 25 shots on target this season, while Sergio Aguero had 6 shots on target in one game against Newcastle.
Daryl Janmaat, a right back at strugglers, Newcastle Utd has had 8 shots on target, just 1 less than Rooney, a forward for a club third in the league.
Theo Walcott has played just 503 minutes in the Premier League this season, less than half of Rooney’s 1050 minutes and Walcott has had 12 shots on target and has matched Rooney’s goal tally of 2 goals. Mame Biram Diouf, a forward who has started less than half of the matches for the lowest scorers in the league, Stoke, has had 11 shots on target and 3 goals.
It has been suggested that United’s style of play is hindering Rooney and that may be the case to an extent but that argument is made redundant when considering the output of other Manchester United players. Juan Mata, an attacking midfield player who has predominantly been employed in a wide right position also has 9 shots on target and has 4 goals.
Another wide man, Memphis Depay has had 10 shots on target and 2 goals from just 9 starts. Rooney does not look a threat and it is not as if Rooney is creating chances either, Rooney has no assists in the Premier League this season.
Van Gaal has tried several different ways to accommodate and get the best out of Rooney. Rooney has played as a lone centre forward, has played alongside Martial in a two and just in behind Martial as a number 10. None of these solutions are working but there is still an option Van Gaal has yet to try – taking Rooney out of the team. Rooney has missed two matches for Man United this season both of which United have won, against Liverpool and Watford.
Rooney is right up there when it comes to Manchester United’s best signings in the last 15 years and has been a top class performer in his career at Old Trafford but on form and statistics this season, Rooney has not been anywhere near productive enough to be in this Manchester United team.
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