Former Manchester United centre-back Gary Pallister believes Wayne Rooney should start against Liverpool next Monday.
The 30-year-old has been omitted from Jose Mourinho‘s starting XI for the last three games, bringing a long run of unjustified selection to an abrupt end.
Man United travel to Anfield three points behind Jurgen Klopp’s side, and could move up to third with a win.
Speaking on Sky Sports earlier today, Pallister advocated Rooney’s involvement in what promises to be a fiery encounter.
“Unleash the beast,” he said. No, genuinely. He actually said that.
“If Jose feels Wayne is ready to come back in for the game, he will be desperate to prove people wrong.
“He has handled it really, really well in the last few weeks and especially in his press conference alongside Gareth [Southgate].
“I think that shows great maturity. I think if that had happened to Wayne when he was 23/24 it would have been a different scenario.
“You would be a fool to write Wayne Rooney off. He is too talented for that.”
Even if Rooney was producing the performances we saw in, say, 2008, I’d still have reservations over playing him on Monday.
This is because, for whatever reason, Rooney has never performed well at Anfield. Even in his irresistible pomp, alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, the Englishman would freeze, almost as if the hysteria surrounding the occasion crossed his wires.
It is a proverbial bogey-ground for the 30-year-old; very rarely does one specific arena inhibit a player’s performance in such a dramatic way. I mean, it’s not like Ronaldo would go to Ewood Park and suddenly suffer a complete collapse in form. That said, Ewood park was always a horrible bogey-ground for United as a whole.
Either way, with Rooney well and truly entering the nadir of his time at United, sending him into the unfavourable Anfield cauldron would only further dampen his already depleted confidence.