Manchester United fans were unhappy with Wayne Rooney‘s performance in their side’s 3-2 defeat to West Ham United in the Premier League on Tuesday night.
The captain, restored to his midfield role after struggling upfront against Norwich City last week, was ineffectual for long periods against Mark Noble and Cheikhou Kouyaté in what was a ferocious midfield battle.
Man United fans took no time in expressing their disappointment with regard to Rooney’s display.
As long Rooney play in midfield expect more pain than joy #MUFC
— nkululeko ndlovu (@nkulule19694782) May 10, 2016
Rooney playing well people say. Repeated pointless Hollywood balls, no chances created, 1 shot off target, no tackles, dispossessed twice
— No Question About That (@nqatpod) May 10, 2016
Rooney attempts the deep high ball way too often. He's like some kid playing FIFA hitting L1+triangle/Y. It doesn't always work, Wayne.
— Elko Born (@Elko_B) May 10, 2016
Taxis on the pitch. Should have come an hour ago to collect Rooney. #WHUFC
— Brad (@bradctfc) May 10, 2016
The platform could hardly have been better: with the world’s spotlight on Upton Park and Champions League football in United’s hands, this was a perfect opportunity for the captain to dictate proceedings, and guide his side further towards fourth spot.
As it was, Rooney, alongside his beleaguered teammates, faltered (except from Anthony Martial). The 30-year-old was eclipsed in terms of energy, discipline and productivity by a buoyant West Ham midfield.
A positive of using Rooney in midfield is that it aligns with his desire to have a constant impact on the game; but a downside is that, too often, attacking momentum is squandered by his idiosyncratic cross-field diagonal passes, which, nine times out of ten, have no effect. If Rooney is unable to master this new midfield role, you can’t help but think that his future at Old Trafford looks precarious.