Wayne Rooney: Struggling striker needs to find a method to have an influence
Gaal has been generous with Rooney by handing him starts most games.
New Delhi: Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was expected to be the side's leader in getting the goals but after midway season he isn't anywhere near to what Louis van Gaal would have wanted.
As United have struggled to find their feet this season, Wayne Rooney has been a major reason for that lean period. The skipper has failed to score goals and even find assists as his confidence has looked down just like the entire camp.
With only Anthony Martial as the other recognized striker, Rooney had hoped for a goal-scoring season playing in his favourite position upfront. But often the England forward has found himself alone with few touches and his impact has hurt the side.
Rooney's legs seem gone as there is no pace and his lack of confidence is evident on the pitch. The forward missed a clear goal scoring opportunity against Chelsea after volleying the ball from open goal high above the bar. Rooney in the yesteryears would have smacked it in the back of the net.
Rooney was benched on Boxing Day against Stoke City where United lost 0-2 and although after his introduction there was a purpose, the club just failed to convert chances.
Against Chelsea on Monday, Rooney was drafted back as the striker but his say was limited and lack of aggression was limited him.
Gaal has been generous with an out of sorts Rooney by handing him starts after starts but the striker has failed to repay the trust.
So what do United do next? Will Rooney be sold off just like Robin van Persie or will he be given the option to play in the centre of the pitch as a midfielder?
Rooney has donned the position several times in his career and could have a bigger influence from there in setting up the play and be more on the ball.
An isolated Rooney upfront with lack of any speed and venom should tempt the manager to invest for a striker in the January transfer window. But will United trust Gaal, given the GBP 250m he has already spent as his side still lacks potency in attack?
Even if the latter is sacked as United have gone winless in last eight encounters, will the new manager believe in Rooney as United's saviour? This is a key question and Rooney knows what suits him best with his career seeming down the dead end as a striker.