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Why Wayne Rooney’s form is hindering both Manchester United and England

Simply put, Wayne Rooney has been awful so far this season. The Manchester United man has struggled for form in recent weeks and Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho has dropped the 30-year-old from the starting line-up in each of the last two Premier League fixtures. Rooney’s long, illustrious career may be the main reason for his sub-par efforts; he almost looks like he is burnt out after averaging over 50 games a season for the last decade.

United have failed to live up to the hype under Mourinho and Rooney’s presence has been a key reason for their uninspiring performances in the last month or so. The club are now sixth in the Premier League table and they face a real fight to finish in the top four this season – especially if Mourinho gives Rooney another chance to prove his worth in the line-up. Right now, it is hard to see Rooney displacing Paul Pogba, Juan Mata or Ander Herrera in the middle of the park but an injury or two could see the England man get back into the side…

So far, Rooney had made seven league appearances for United this season; racking up 478 minutes of Premier League game time. During these domestic contests, the 30-year-old has scored once and assisted two more; a poor ratio considering how much time he has spent on the field. In addition, he is being dispossessed 1.4 times per game; more than most of United’s other attacking midfielders. Ultimately, he just doesn’t have the touch, the control, the speed or the temperament to hold his own in England’s top flight.

Rooney’s poor spell has carried over onto the international stage too; and his disappointing run is dragging England down. During their recent 2-0 victory over Malta, Rooney had a pass accuracy of just 86.9% – compared to 92.7% for fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson. In addition, only 83.3% of his passes went forwards whilst 90.8% of Henderson’s attempts were offensive efforts. However, the most telling statistic is the amount of times Rooney gave the ball away; 25 compared to Henderson’s 15.

Jordan Henderson is in decent form but Rooney’s poor statistical performance against somebody of Henderson’s calibre says more about the United man’s lack of confidence and form than it does about Henderson’s talent. At the end of the day, the Liverpool midfielder is a competent footballer but no more than that – and that is why Rooney’s fall from grace is very worrying. The once ‘golden boy’ of English football is now no more than a benchwarmer.

At the time of writing, United are 16/1 to win the title in Betway’s Premier League football betting odds; and they are struggling to match Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur for form, confidence and results. If the Red Devils are to claim a record 21st English title, Mourinho has to keep Rooney out of the starting line-up and focus on building around Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata. With those three players in the side, United have enough creativity and talent to cause problems for the rest of the Premier League.

Rooney’s United tenure is coming to an end – that much is obvious. The Red Devils captain will break Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time club record of 259 goals in the famous red shirt and then he will be on his way. Whether you rate him nowadays or not, Rooney’s achievements over the years deserve plenty of respect; and he will certainly be remembered as a true Old Trafford great. Unfortunately, he may bow out as a bit-part player; it is hard to see him getting back to anywhere near his best.