Paul Merson has described Roy Keane’s criticism of Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney as a “cheap shot”.
Keane claimed that Rooney looked “awful” and needed to “step up to the plate” in the wake of Man United’s 0-0 draw against PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night. The Irishman also criticised Rooney for attending a WWE event earlier this term.
United dominated the game but struggled to finish off their chances on what was a hugely frustrating night for Louis van Gaal’s side. Merson defended Rooney and insisted Keane’s comments were harsh.
“I thought it was a cheap shot, to be honest,” Merson said.
“Wayne was outstanding for England the other week but he had runners either side of him, playing off him, people making third-man runs. He had movement and he was very comfortable.
“But then he goes into a Man United team and it is the hardest thing in the world to keep clean sheets and score goals at the same time, I don’t care where you are, that’s the hardest thing to do. He doesn’t have that there where they are working off scraps.
“And the WWE thing? He has a little boy who is likely a massive fan so why can’t he do that? He still has to have a family life. he has to think of the kids, so for me that was just a cheap shot.”
Rooney has taken his fair share of criticism this season but he was actually one of United’s better performers against PSV. His first touch was generally good and some of his passing was incisive and accurate. However, Keane is right in saying that Rooney must take on some of the blame for United’s lack of cutting edge. The 30-year-old, as well as the rest of the team, will have to be much better against Leicester City this weekend.