Rooney in Centre Midfield

3 Nov

Midfielders can come in many different types, holding, defensive, box to box, attacking, man marking etc. And the attributes can even be more diverse, reading of the play, dictating the play, tone and pace of the game, keeping the ball, playing the best available option, link up play, changing a game, opening up a game with a defence splitting pass, energy, drive, assists, goals. The list is considerable. I often believe people look at certain attributes and think they would make an ideal midfield player. This was done to Smith who could tackle, win the ball, had real guts and desire to win. Those attributes unfortunately did not mean he was a Roy Keane. While few if any are good at all these skills a top class midfield has to be brilliant at a number of them and good at the vast majority of the rest.

Why  the clamour to play Rooney  in that position. He is probably the best number 10 in the world. He can play behind the main striker link up with the midfield and play the critical ball where it really counts and hurts the opposition. He is a good finisher and if injury free will get 25 goals plus every season.

Playing just off the main striker in a relatively free role he can find space, lose defenders, drag them in to positions they do not want to go. It is a natural means of changing systems constantly during the game.

Playing in centre midfield would in truth take him 2 years at least to learn properly while his passing is suited to that position why would you want to see him spending much of his time defending on the edge of his box? His tackling isn’t great and his ability to set the tempo, knowing when to play the Hollywood ball and link up play and reading of the game in that position would take time, that is if it ever came off.

Some have likened him to Scholes but Scholes didn’t take up what many believe his natural position was due to Cantona having the position wrapped up. Scholes also was one a brilliant reader of the game, he cut out so many passes just knowing what was happening and what was planned.  He could slow the game down up  the heat, his timing of runs late in to the box at his peak was sublime. Moreover when Scholes was eventually tried in the number 10 role behind RvN he hated it and never felt the was his best position.

Over the years I’ve seen many strikers move successfully to centre midfield  especially Macari and Whiteside but question marks were asked about Lou’s size as a forward and Whiteside’s lack of pace. Can Rooney do a very good job in centre midfield without doubt. However the reason is not that Rooney is ideal for that position the truth is we are relatively poor or certainly not as strong as we need to be in that position.

Rooney played some fantastic passes yesterday but he can do that just as well behind the main striker, he also gave the ball away, his positional play was naive and our strike force looked lost against in truth a pretty poor opposition

The problem is not new we have needed a top class midfield player or two for years. There isn’t an excuse why we haven’t bought that I can think of as it has been a priority on most fans wish list for a long long time. We need an experienced World Class player or close to that level who can run games, change games.

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3 Responses to “Rooney in Centre Midfield”

  1. trafels November 3, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

    Rooney has shown himself to be a very versatile player but tbh i think its all in ManUtd’s detriment,I remember the 2008 season when Rooney was dispatched to the left wing to accomodate Tevez & Ronaldo,he played it alright but it was a mediocre performance at best…he’s not the kind of player that will take the ball to the byline and do some other things natural wingers do ( Preamble)

    Its quite a pity that this is happening again,Rooney is being the sacrificial lamb again and unlike the other seasons,we dont have the superstars to cover up for the big hole upfront,he had a good game last night but it is safe to assume that he would have been more dangerous in his natural role behind the striker.

    We really need a world class midfielder and I’m surprised that the management crew havent noticed it.SAF has allegedly said we wont be involved in the transfer market in January, I hope this is false because despite the fact that Fletcher,Carrick,Park were all fit,he decided to play Rooney in their position…that says a lot about the current crop of midfielders in the squad.

    I hope Cleverly comes back and stays in form because Rooney is just wasting in the midfield,we need him further up where he can do the most damage.

    • mohammed November 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

      Couldn’t agree more. Sacrificing his best position (proved in season 2009/2010, even though we only won the Carling cup , but he was giving his maximum) has changed our game, to the worse I think.

  2. Keith (@TheMancunianRed) November 3, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    trafels I agree with absolutely every point you make!

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