Manchester United set to play Wayne Rooney in midfield
Louis van Gaal confirms that Rooney will be deployed behind Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie
September 23rd, 2014
Wayne Rooney was handed the captain’s armband at Old Trafford during the summer and began the season with a goal against Swansea City in an attacking position.
However, the arrival of Radamel Falcao means that the England international will be dropping deeper for his club side, with Louis van Gaal confirming that he sees Rooney’s role as an attacking midfielder rather than a forward.
Rooney played behind Falcao and Robin van Persie during Sunday’s 5-3 defeat at Leicester, with United’s attacking mentality leading to gaps at the back which were exploited by the Foxes.
Van Gaal said: “We have played well but can improve and I was not so satisfied with Rooney as a striker and Mata as midfielder and that’s why I’m changing.
“Rooney can play in more positions, he’s a multifunctional player and I have tried him in a striker’s position. He’s played well but not spectacular and Falcao is a striker and I think he can do it better.”
On having to change positions, Rooney said: “I’m happy to play out wide – I can do a job there and I can do a job up front. It depends on the situation of each game and what the manager wants me to do.”
Rooney admits he is now a different kind of footballer. “I’m not the player I was. I feel I’ve progressed my game. So I agree with the people who say my game has changed. I [did] too much running when I was younger and then didn’t have the energy to get myself into scoring positions in the box.
“I’m a cleverer player now and know when to run into the box and when not to, and as a result more chances have come my way and I’ve scored a lot more goals.”