Xavi: Why Man United captain Wayne Rooney should play in midfield
Barcelona legend Xavi says Man United captain Wayne Rooney can prolong his career if he drops into deeper role
Xavi says Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney should be deployed as a midfielder.
The England international is coming under pressure from United supporters after the 30-year-old failed to score in a goalless draw with Manchester City in Sunday’s derby at Old Trafford.
Maybe it’s time for a new striker at Manchester United, who can run for 90 minutes, but Rooney would be very dangerous in a deeper role
In particular, Rooney was criticised after the gave away the ball more than any of his other team-mates, whilst the United skipper was dispossessed six times by a City player.
However, Barcelona legend Xavi insisted Rooney has a lot more to offer the Red Devils in the coming years, adding that the former Everton man’s best position is midfield.
“Wayne Rooney is a player I have admired for a long time. He is an extraordinary player with extraordinary capabilities,” Xavi said.
“Personally I think Rooney still has much to offer, but maybe it’s time for him to adapt.
“You get to an age and you can’t play the game you once used to, you can’t cover the ground you used to. But intelligent players adapt and there’s no doubting Rooney has a very good footballing brain.
“Maybe it’s time for a new striker at Manchester United, who can run for 90 minutes, but Rooney would be very dangerous in a deeper role. He has the vision and the passing range to play that role very well.
“If he can adapt, there’s no reason why he can’t play at the top level for another five or six seasons. But as a player you must admit to yourself your body is changing and can’t do what it used to be able to do.”
Rooney has scored two goals in nine Premier League appearances for Louis van Gaal’s side so far this season.
The Red Devils skipper has also netted three times in the Champions League, although Rooney has failed to find the net in the group stage.