Thierry Henry has criticised Wayne Rooney for failing to capitalise on a fantastic chance during Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal in the Premier League.
A moment of indecision at the back between Petr Cech and Rob Holding left Rooney clear on goal with Juan Mata waiting for a lay-off that would have presented him with an open goal.
But the 31-year-old, much to the fury of supporters, completely failed to spot the Spaniard and instead fired a weak shot straight into the Czech’s midriff and behind for a corner.
And Henry, speaking on Sky Sports, noted that a player of Rooney’s experience should have done much better with what was a golden chance.
“What a mistake from Holding,” he said.
“Koscielny was also not aware of what’s happening. Here you expect Wayne Rooney to score.
“What I expect even more from a guy of his magnitude is to have a look in the six-yard box to see if someone was there. Actually Mata was there. He didn’t give it to Mata and he didn’t score.”
There was very little to separate Man United and Arsenal during the first half. Neither side looked especially firm at the back, nor clinical going forward, and it felt as if whoever managed to forge the opening goal would go on to snatch the initiative.
And Rooney, a man living on borrowed time at Old Trafford, could have assuaged some of the criticism coming his way by sliding the ball to Mata for a tap-in, or even just, you know, not hoofing the ball helplessly at Cech. But he couldn’t. And perhaps the worst part of it all is that, really, did any of us expect a goal in that moment? I know I didn’t.
This was yet another example of the glaring distinction between what Mourinho demands from his players and what Rooney can offer to this United side. A move away in the summer feels even more likely.