Paul and Ashley look back and dissect the Chelsea game discussing where things went wrong. Wayne Rooney’s future and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s lack of opportunities is also on the agenda.
115: The number of times Wayne Rooney has represented England. 53: the amount in which the ball has found the back of the net courtesy of the English captain; more than any other player. These numbers are associated with only the best of players; those of world-class ability can only achieve.
Yet some “fans” for lack of better term, booed Wayne Rooney. It is of no secret that the Manchester United player is facing the most challenging time of his career. His form has been poor to start the season and he is having his immediate future being doubted by many as each performance goes by.
However, the lack of respect shown to Rooney was nothing short of appalling. The English fans present at the Malta game portrayed a lack of class to a player who has served them with such loyalty over the last decade.
When these individuals boo the United and English captain, do they boo the times be rushed recovery previous to the 2006 and 2014 World Cups? What about the time he lit up the 2004 European championship?
This is why Manchester United fans residing in England have no desire to support the English side. There is a history of English fans disrespecting United players from Beckham, the Neville brothers, Scholes and now Rooney.
Manchester United fans like to say they are the best in the world. Let’s get behind our captain.
Regardless of Rooney’s future performances; regardless of if he never laces his boots again, let Manchester United fans everywhere show the class that is associated with us.
Wayne Rooney is not finished. Over the next month, the world will be able to see if the record goal-scorer can still be a squad player to the benefit of the team.
Everyone around the world who supports this club, support your team; support your captain. Because the best fans in the world support our own.
Next stop Anfield. Over to you, Captain.
Your Aussie Correspondent.
Reports have surfaced that recent acquisition Henrikh Mkhitaryan is unhappy with how he has been deployed during the early stages of his Manchester United career.
The Armenian international has been used sparingly to date, although he did start in Saturday’s derby defeat to Manchester City, where he operated on the wing. His performance drew criticism from Jose Mourinho and he was hauled off at half time alongside Jesse Lingard.
However, it is thought that Mkhitaryan himself has laid the blame back at the feet of Mourinho for fielding him in an unfavoured position, with the former Borussia Dortmund playmaker more comfortable in the number 10 role currently occupied by club captain Wayne Rooney.
It is a viewpoint mirrored by many a fan, with Rooney himself under much scrutiny surrounding his below-par performances. It is thought, hoped even, that, as the seasons drifts on, Mkhitaryan will find himself back in a more natural position with Rooney outside of the starting 11.
The 27-year-old enjoyed his most fruitful season in Germany last term, hitting the back of the net 23 times in all competitions. Perhaps just as impressively, the midfielder chipped in with 26 assists and was thought to be one of Europe’s most wanted men last summer with United eventually winning the race for his signature, paying over £26 million for his services.
How do you feel about Mkhitaryan playing in a number 10 role? Had you hoped to see him flourish out wide? A position we have been lacking for so long?
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
Wayne Rooney, now there’s a man who divides opinion…
On one hand, there is the club captain, the on-field leader who bleeds for the cause, key to the club’s many triumphs of the past 12 years. On the other hand is a player who is a shadow of his former self, a man who claims to have little to prove but is riding on his reputation of days gone by rather than his current form.
It’s a debate which has roared on for some time now, since his below-par performances during the LVG era (let’s face it though, not many have emerged from that with much credit), to his selection in England’s Euro 2016 failure and now to United’s new era, the one which promises so much.
The Mourinho era has started with a bang. A convincing 3-1 win over Bournemouth had glimpses of what may be to come but it was a number of comments afterwards which interested me.
“He’s finished” was a popular phrase. “Sell him now” said another. “Worst player on the pitch”…. They kept on coming. And this despite the fact that Rooney scored United’s second of the afternoon, and his 246th for the club putting him only three goals shy of Sir Bobby Charlton’s club goal scoring record.
And then came the most staggering of all, a poll ran on our own Twitter page which enraged me, merely for the result. The question? “If you had to sell one, who would it be? Wayne Rooney or Marouane Fellaini?” Of course, Fellaini came out on top, with 65% of the vote. However, it was the 35% which really made me question our fanbase. The poll attracted 2,384 votes, which meant that 835 of you would rather see a man who has been utterly terrible in his three years at the club in a Manchester United shirt than a man who has scored 246 goals, won five Premier League titles, one Champions League, one World Club Cup, two League Cups and an FA Cup in his 12 years at the club.
One good game against Bournemouth does not merit this kind of reaction. We all know that Fellaini doesn’t belong in a United shirt. He personifies the club’s least successful period of the Premier League era.
As for Rooney, is he faultless? No. Is he the player he was? No, of course not. However, players adapt with age. LVG trialed Rooney in a midfield role towards the end of last season, as did Roy Hodgson for England in the summer. For me, Rooney looked like this is a role he could adapt do quite swiftly. However, that was soon put to bed when Jose Mourinho stated upon his arrival that he does not see his captain as a number 8 or a number 6, but a number 10. Against Bournemouth, whether you like it or not, it worked. Yes, he misplaced passes, lost control of the ball a little too often for his liking, but it still worked. His mere presence created issues for the opposition. Ok, we all know he wasn’t superb, as stated by Danny Murphy on Match Of The Day, but it showed early promise.
And then it got me thinking about other former captains. Were they subjected to the same level of abuse as they came to the twilight of their careers. Bryan Robson, Roy Keane, Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Ryan Giggs? No, of course they didn’t. Neville and Vidic in particular were nowhere near the type of player they were in their latter years as they were in their peak, but did we shout and scream for the club to sell them? Of course not. In fact, if I remember rightly, there wasn’t many a fan that was too thrilled when Vidic decided to leave the club to join Inter Milan.
Giggs is a fantastic example. As he reached his early to mid-thirties, can anyone claim he was anywhere near the same player he was in his twenties? The mazy runs were gone, the electric pace had disappeared. What we were left with was still an excellent player, although one of a completely different mould. Paul Scholes was the same.
The fact is, it has become fashionable to criticise Wayne Rooney. In an era where every game can be scrutinised right down to the last little detail, it is easy to find fault within his game, more so than ever before with the amount of cameras, slow motion replays and statistics at our disposal. The same can be said of any player of course, but Rooney seems to be getting the brunt of it.
Hence the question after Sunday’s game, to which Rooney responded that he doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone, a comment which angered many. I saw one fan question how Rooney doesn’t have anything to prove, yet Zlatan does. Well, simply put, Zlatan does have something to prove. He’s only just joined the club. Granted, it isn’t going to tarnish his career if he was to fail (which he won’t, I know), but he does have to prove his worth to Manchester United as a club. Rooney, after everything he has achieved at Old Trafford, should be afforded the luxury of not having to prove himself to the fans. We wouldn’t have expected Giggs, or Scholes, or the many more that were pivotal to United’s success over the last 25 years or so to have to prove their worth, so why should we with Wayne?
Let me get this straight, Wayne Rooney could still land a club at the very highest level, and I would thoroughly expect the likes of Chelsea or Manchester City to by vying for his signature if the minority were to get their way. And, on that note, I’ll end on this…just be careful what you wish for…
As Mourinho gets accustomed to the role of Manchester United manager, he will be devising a plan to bring his team back to the top of the premiership. Within those considerations will be captain Wayne Rooney and how to best utilise the record goal-scorer in the team.
According to the Daily Mail, Rooney is eyeing a permanent move to central midfield, a role in which he has been deployed in the latter stages of the season for United and currently for England in the Euros.
The Englishman has acknowledged he is no longer the same player that burst onto the scene with a hat-trick with a canning ability to skip past defenders and place fear into a goalkeeper. Rather, Rooney realises what Sir Alex Ferguson identified three seasons ago: the forward needs to move into midfield to prolong his career at Manchester United.
There is no doubting, while gifted, the Everton-product will need time to adjust into his new role. Rooney’s performance against Russia in the Euros portrayed his ability to dictate the pace of the game while illustrating the skill to execute a long-range pass and pick out a ball for a striker.
However, while effortless, Rooney provided a less-convincing performance against Wales, losing the ball and choosing the wrong pass.
It is worth noting Rooney, while experienced, is fairly new to a midfield role. He is also playing with Eric Dier and Deli Alli: talented, but young footballers who do not have the ability to dictate game-play.
That makes Rooney’s performances for England more difficult, given he is expected to run a game despite playing less than half a season in that position.
This will not be an issue at United with many talented midfielders such as Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin and Carrick who can dictate play, freeing Rooney to push forward as a box-to-box midfielder and present a goal threat.
Having played as a first or second striker for the majority of his career, it also provides United with a player who understands the runs a striker will attempt to make.
It will take time, but Wayne Rooney has all the tools to be a success in midfield, thus prolonging his career at Manchester United. With three years to run on the English and Manchester United captain’s contract, time will be afforded for performances to be at a level expected. Mourinho’s recent sentiments suggesting Rooney can retire at United also work into his favour.
He will always have his critics, but expect Rooney to flourish in a midfield role. Who knows? He might just earn himself a stay at Old Trafford for life.
Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.
We want YOU! The United Stand is THE Manchester United channel that’s all about the fans, so what better way to have a season review show than to have one totally based around your opinion?
That’s right! Our United season review and awards show will be 100% about YOU! No so called expert journalists casting their vote on a club they hardly watch, no ex players demanding a fee to give their opinion to the fans who’ve paid their wages for years. We’re doing it the right way. We’re giving a voice to the only people who matter in football, the true owners of the game, the fans.
Below you’ll find a number of different polls you can cast your vote in. From best performance of the year to the most improved player, from flop of the season to best goal of the season – you can even vote for your United Stand Pundit of the year! We’ve got every category covered and the main thing is your vote will influence who ends up winning the most important awards in Manchester United’s season.
We’ll also being giving away some great prizes LIVE on air
No other season review matters as much as this one. Why? Because they’re voted for by the people who matter the most – YOU the fans.
So cast your votes below and join us LIVE at 9pm GMT on Sunday 29th May for the only Manchester United Awards show that matters.
So GET VOTING NOW!
By Larry Taylor
Attack! Attack! Attack! United came out of the blocks, displaying offensive intent as they hosted Leicester, who with a win, would secure the Premier League title.
The Red Devils’ were rewarded in the 8th minute when Anthony Martial was on the receiving end of an Antonio Valencia cross, placing the ball under Leicester ‘keeper Schmichael, giving United a 1-0 lead.
The Reds’ were in the ascendency and had a glorious opportunity to extend their lead in the 14th minute when Jesse Lingard had a shot thudded away by Schmichael, maintaining the pressure and having the United faithful applauding the antics.
To their credit, Leicester fought back and got a goal back when Morgan out-muscled Marcus Rojo and head the ball in to bring the game level. Unfortunately for United, they never recovered and outside of a header by Chris Smalling in the closing moments of the game, Manchester United never looked like scoring the goal they needed.
With Leicester needing a mere two points to win the league pre-game, the Foxes were happy to sit back while counter attack where ever they could. Leicester came for a draw and given United’s struggles to break teams down, it was no surprise they got the result they came for.
But this meant more for United. Considering a top 4 spot was touching distance and Manchester City had lost against Southampton later in the day, fans sat in anticipation of the proverbial kitchen sink to be thrown.
Sir Alex on the touch-line pulls off a defensive midfielder for a striker, tells Rio Ferdinand to push forward and give the opposition nightmares until we got the desired result. That’s Manchester United; that is what that emblem represents – or at least, represented.
Now, with 7 minutes remaining, Blind and Smalling interchange in passes while Herrera and Memphis are given 16 and 8 minutes respectively to make an impact. It is illogical and is the type of complacency that should see Louis Van Gaal lose his job at season’s end.
The Dutchman’s team selections were again maligned. Fellaini has played well in the last few weeks and probably deserved his spot; but he was ineffective; slowed play down and was an elbow graze away from a red card.
You also have to question why Argentinian international Marcus Rojo continues to be picked. The defender was at fault for the goal and struggled against PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez. He packs the composure and pace to be a consistent left back at Manchester United and is terribly out of form. Considering his bright performances and great crossing ability, it is surprising Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has not been afforded an opportunity as of late.
As it stands, Manchester United still have a mathematical chance to make the top 4. Realistically, Manchester United would need Arsenal to beat Manchester City with the hope they will drop points in their last two games. Even so, given Van Gaal’s 50% win rate and the inconsistencies, I sadly cannot see it happening.
Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.
28 September 2004: A fresh-faced 18 year old Wayne Rooney marked his debut for Manchester United against Fenerbahce, scoring a stunning hattrick to send Old Trafford rocking. Another star was born, much to the envy of other sides in the Premiership.
Fast forward to 30 March 2016: The Express are reporting Wayne Rooney is seeking a meeting with Jose Mourinho, the man expected to be appointed United manager, to have assurances provided over his place in the first team from next season and beyond.
The problem there is within itself. If Wayne Rooney, the Manchester United and English captain, needs to seek assurances over his spot, then Rooney must know his form is not where it needs to be. Can you imagine Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Robert Lewandowski, requiring guarantees over their position? These men prove themselves every time they play for their club and country; they demand selection.
Why would I compare Rooney to these players? The United captain is one of the highest earners in world football, allegedly earning up to £300,000 a week and from what he has achieved at the club, rightfully so. But if you want to demand big money, you need to display great performances on a consistent basis.
Wayne Rooney is a legend. He has 244 goals, just 5 short of Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal scoring record for United, and has been a major part of United’s 5 Premier League and the 2008 Champions League triumphs and as recently as the turbulent season under Moyes, displayed real leadership in being a constantly good player in what was United’s worst season in over two decades.
The Englishman has also given us many wonderful memories. As previously mentioned, his phenomenal debut, his volley against Newcastle, his toiler-like efforts, The Beckam-like bomb against West ham.. and who will ever forget THAT bicycle against our cross-town neighbours? (Still stings, doesn’t it, City?)
But he is declining. In Season 2011-12, Rooney scored 27 goals and had 10 assists in the Premier league. One season later, with Robin Van Persie joining the Englishman up front, Rooney returned a solid 12 goals and 11 assists.
To Rooney’s own detriment, he is versatile and has had to play deeper at times to the benefit of the team; however, this season, Rooney was finally given the opportunity in his preferred role at centre-forward.
22 appearances later, a disappointing 7 goals and 4 assists. Let’s get something straight, this is not all Rooney’s doing. United’s attack as a whole has been much-maligned this season; but the flip-side of that is United arguably play with more pace and precision with Rashford and Martial in the front 3.
Normally, Rooney would walk back into the team; however, the emergence of youngster Marcus Rashford is coincidentally, doing a Rooney on Rooney. He is making the same noises and getting the United fans something to cheer about in what has been a disappointing season.
For someone of Wayne’s ability, he will occasionally hit a patch of form as we saw in January when Rooney had his best run of form, but these performances have become the exception rather than the norm.
As Sir Alex Ferguson famously announced, when Wayne scores, he scores many; but when he doesn’t score, he goes a fair while without scoring.
United are likely to appoint Jose Mourinho in the summer – and there’s a feeling that, as hard as it is, United need to let go of the ‘Ferguson era’ and establish a new kind of dominance. The shadow of Ferguson will loom while ever the club is unsuccessful, and Rooney is a major part of that. He has been a part of the clubs years of dominance, but the form he had in those days have long passed.
Rooney’s days of running past people are gone; his ability to grab a game by the scruff of the neck have finished.
Selfishly, he will be hesitant to leave; he wants to break Charlton’s record. But given the performances we have produced in his absence, a part of him must know the end is near. As each game passes that his form deserts him, the whispers of his decline will become roars.
Rooney will always be a great and he deserves to be remembered in a good light. Come back from injury, secure the club a top 4 finish, and progress into the sunset.
Mourinho needs to make a big call when he arrives, and that call should result in Wayne leaving to China or the States for one final pay-day.
We love you Wayne, but it’s time to go.
Your Aussie Correspondent,
Larry – The United Stand.
Rooney has been out with a knee ligament injury since the middle of February and is set to return after England’s friendly matches against Germany and Holland.
The Manchester United and England captain expects to feature in United’s final run-in in the Premier League and any potential Europa League and FA Cup matches.
Rooney will also then have three warm up games with England at the end of May/beginning of June, so he is confident he will be ready and fit.
Rooney is quoted by The Sun:
I am hoping if I am back when I am expected to be back, depending on the two cups we are still in, then there could be 10 games left for United plus the England games so I don’t think that would be a worry.
It is going as planned. It is going how we first thought. It is going well so hopefully it won’t be too long now. I don’t know for definite but after the international break. Obviously I will miss the England games, but it shouldn’t be too long after that.
It is not too bad. We are being a bit cautious. It is a difficult one to try and push back. If I try and push and be involved now it could cause more damage. So we are being cautious.
You can read the full article on the Guardian website by clicking here.
United score two rare first half goals in their 3-0 victory over Stoke City.
As United fans we have been treated to some fantastic football over the last few days with a 3-1 victory at Derby and tonight, a 3-0 victory against Stoke City. After the let down that was the January transfer window, United fans deserved something to be positive about and the game tonight provided just that.
United started the game at a quick tempo and created several chances in the opening minutes of the game. Rooney came close in just the 6th minute, forcing a diving save from Jack Butland but, it was academy graduate, Jesse Lingard, who opened the scoring in the 14th minute. The assist came from another academy graduate in Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. The 19-year old hit a drive low cross across the face of goal finding Lingard who finished with a low diving header to put United ahead.
Summer signing Anthony Martial also caused problems for Stoke with his predator-like runs, weaving gracefully past defenders leaving them dazed and confused. He came close to doubling United’s lead just a couple of minutes after Lingard’s opener after skipping past two Stoke defenders and powering a shot towards goal. It missed, but not by much.
Martial continued to give Stoke a hard time and in the 23rd minute doubled United’s lead with a spectacular goal. Rooney, on the right hand side of the pitch, spotted Martial unmarked out on the left just outside the box, so he played a square ball across to him. Martial controlled the ball, looked up, shaped himself and struck the ball with power curling over and around Jack Butland into the far corner of the net.
United were cruising and the crowd were loving it.
Stoke City did, however, have a brief spell late in the first half where they had a few attempts at goal but United’s defence stood firm preventing Stoke from causing David de Gea any real problems.
The second half saw United come out looking for more as they continued to push forward searching for the third goal that would surely kill the game off and it only took 4 minutes. Only the goal was disallowed as Rooney was penalised for a push on Glen Johnson before rocketing the ball between Butland at his near post.
But that didn’t deter United. Three minutes later, Daley Blind played a ball into Mata, who turned and spotted Martial to his left. Mata played the ball out to Martial who struck a left foot cross across the face of goal finding Wayne Rooney who simply tapped the ball into the net. 3-0. Game over.
With United 3-0 up and the game won, Louis van Gaal gave some game time to Memphis, Herrera and Pereira. Memphis looked sharp, hungry and full of fight so hopefully we will see him regain some form in the not too distant future.
After the win, United remain in 5th, still 5 points behind 4th. Spurs’ win carries them up to 3rd as Arsenal slip to 4th after they only manage a draw against Southampton.
So United have had a good few days in terms of both performance and results. Are we about to see a turn in fortunes? Will United go on a run and power back in to the top four? Have your say below in the comments box. We would love to hear what people think.
Also, don’t miss The United Stand’s live match reaction with Mark Goldbridge. Watch by clicking here or watching below:
Man United Team Sheet
Fellaini Substituted for Herrera at 80′ minutes
Mata Substituted for Pereira at 88′ minutes
Martial Substituted for Depay at 79′ minutes
Stoke City Team Sheet
Wollscheid Substituted for Bardsley at 30’minutes
Krkic Substituted for Ireland at 60’minutes