Former Manchester United captain Bryan Robson has expressed doubts over the partnership of Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Rooney and Ibrahimovic struggled to click during Man United’s 2-1 Community Shield win over Leicester City, with the captain often failing to build attacking momentum in the No.10 role.
The pair showed signs of improvement against AFC Bournemouth, displaying some notable chemistry against Eddie Howe’s side. Robson, however, remains unconvinced and believes the two will struggle to perform together against better teams this season.
“They won’t have runners in behind, they will struggle against the better teams,” he said.
“When Zlatan or Rooney come shorter players like Lingard and Martial will have to run wide and inject pace.
“Rooney and Zlatan did fine against Bournemouth but against the better teams they will struggle.”
People don’t like to acknowledge it but Rooney is holding back Mourinho’s side. Granted, the 30-year-old is a good motivating influence in the dressing room; but on the pitch, he precludes this group of players from reaching their full potential at the axis of United’s attacking line-up.
Ibrahimovic is far from your conventional poacher. Of course, the Swede is always there to capitalise on crosses and rebounds, but a huge feature of his game involves dropping deep, allowing for the No.10 to exploit the space created. And at Paris Saint Germain this tactic was used with reckless abandon: the likes of Lucas Moura, Angel Di Maria, Edison Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi ran riot from No.10, taking advantage of the 34-year-old’s intelligent manipulation of defenders.
With Rooney in that role, though, the picture is far bleaker, and United fans will hope Paul Pogba receives the chance to display his superiority in that area this season.