Manchester United fans were left underwhelmed following Wayne Rooney‘s lukewarm performance during their side’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday night in the Premier League.
The 31-year-old, with both Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan unavailable, was deployed on the left hand side and never really managed to effectively impose himself at Selhurst Park.
Man United fans, despite seeing their side grab a late winner, were quick to vent their frustration at the captain.
Rooney needs to play like W.Ham in the cup. Struggled v Zorya. Want to see riled up bearded Rooney. Mata will hopefully shine with Mkhi out.
— Hayles (@Hayles_101) December 14, 2016
Sub Rooney, we score!
— Wasyy (@TaleOfWinter) December 14, 2016
No Rooney or Fellaini anywhere near this team ever again, please Jose mate.
— Stephen (@TwerkingStephen) December 14, 2016
This was, from more or less the first whistle, a typical Rooney-playing-in-an-unusual-position-at-a-tricky-away-ground performance. There he was, bearded and panting, linking up with teammates as United dominated possession early on, always present and yet never really settled.
His performance for the first 20 minutes was similar to, say, Paul Pogba: but the Frenchman looked far more at home, clearly sure of himself, playing in third gear as United probed Palace’s back four with quiet intent early on; Rooney, on the other hand, bore the resemblance of a man stretching every single fibre of energy he had to the absolute limit in an attempt to merely stay afloat, desperately trying to mask the fact that such games – furiously physical, played on a small pitch, packed with controversy and noise – are no longer suitable for the Englishman’s ailing power on the ball.