Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan has come out in defence of Wayne Rooney, claiming criticism of the 30-year-old is unfair.
The captain has received derision from all corners following a series of woeful performances under Jose Mourinho, leading to many fans and pundits calling for his exclusion from the starting XI.
Even Rooney himself, usually a defiant figure when dealing with the press, admitted recently his place in the team is under threat.
However, believes criticism of the 30-year-old is unwarranted.
“But Mourinho has not spoken out against his captain. I have seen other people saying that Rooney is finished as a player. I don’t agree.
“When I watch him, I think the problem is that he is not playing his best position. He is a goalscorer, a No 9. He has the instinct of a goalscorer. I know, I have it too. It is what we are comfortable with, it is our job. I can play in midfield too, but I’m at home as a No 9 scoring.
“I would like to see Rooney played further forward with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is really clever how he drops off centre-backs. If they follow him, he leaves space for the second striker to exploit.
“I know many United fans want Rooney to be dropped. I would say, instead, play him for four games as a leading striker. Even though your game changes as you get older, you never forget how to score; it is natural.”
As the side’s most experienced player, on top of being the captain and regular No.10, United fans understandably expect a lot from Rooney. He ought to act as the axis, the focal point, the muse that dictates a dynamic, ruthless tempo throughout the squad.
The grim reality, though, is far less admirable. It seems as if former players and coaches of Rooney are the only ones who don’t see it, or simply refuse to admit it: that Rooney has entered his nadir as a footballer, and, with his current form in mind, doesn’t warrant a place on the bench, let alone the starting XI.