Van Gaal’s midfield experiment with Rooney is failing

by Ben Topliss

Wayne Rooney was again employed in a central midfield role for Manchester United’s game against West Ham United and once again produced an indifferent performance as Daley Blind‘s late goal helped the Red Devils salvage a 1-1 draw.

Against West Ham, the England captain’s passing was haphazard and he had almost zero influence on the game. Louis van Gaal has stated Rooney will continue to play in the position despite his minimal contribution in recent weeks.

The situation is a frustrating one for United fans who have had to watch a number of poor performances from one of the club’s greatest ever players.

It is clear Louis van Gaal is trying to find a way to fit all his attacking players- Rooney, van Persie, Falcao and Di Maria – into the same team. However, it’s not working out. Van Persie and Falcao don’t work as a duo and Rooney is not a central midfielder.

Van Gaal wants Rooney to play the Paul Scholes role in midfield for Man Utd at the moment but he’s not the second coming of the ginger genius. The ‘Rooney in midfield’ experiment has been tested, now it needs to stop.

Rooney has proven he is a world class striker in previous seasons and is close to breaking goalscoring records for both United and England, which makes it all the more frustrating to see him being played in central midfield on a permanent basis.

His best performances have come when he is upfront which makes Van Gaal playing him in a deeper role even more confusing, especially when you’ve got Ander Herrera sitting on the bench who is far more suited to that role.

Rooney has to play up front, there’s no two ways about it. What van Gaal needs to decide is who to drop in order to accommodate the move and quickly if United are to get the best out of Rooney this season.

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