It is no secret that Wayne Rooney has been out of form for Manchester United in the Premier League so far this season. When looking at his overall stats for the season, 5 goals in 11 games doesn’t look too bad, but when you consider that 3 of those 5 goals came in 1 UEFA Champions League qualifying match against Club Brugge, his goals-to-game ratio looks slightly more worrying. Rooney’s solitary goal in the Premier League came against bottom-placed Sunderland, and even then it was not a cool finish which we have come to expect from Rooney, it looked more like he fell into the ball and luck came his way.
After missing the international break with England with an ankle knock and with a trip to boyhood club Everton up next for United, Rooney needs to step into gear. The new signing, 19-year-old Anthony Martial cannot be expected to be the only consistent goal-scoring striker at the club.
Rooney’s lack of form is not only a headache for himself, manager Louis Van Gaal must be frustrated at the lack of finesse shown by the England and United captain. In fact, a recent stat has shown that Rooney has not created a single goal for the Red Devils in the league this season, but Van Gaal can safely defend himself by saying that he is playing Rooney where everyone wanted him to play, not in midfield but in front of goal.
After claiming his award for becoming the leading England goal-scorer of all time at Wembley on Friday, Rooney may have been given a confidence boost. There is no doubting his ability or commitment to the club, and Sir Alex Ferguson, who knows Rooney more than anyone, told ESPN that Rooney’s lack of goals comes down to confidence. “All the strikers I had, everyone relied on their confidence, when they were scoring they think they can never stop,” Claims Ferguson, “When they’re not scoring they think they’re never going to get a goal, it’s a fact.” The ex-Reds manager has no doubt in his mind that Rooney will get back to his scoring best when saying “I think we’ll have to wait. It’ll happen. (Rooney will) go on a run, don’t worry about that.”
So, if Fergie thinks that it is only a matter of time until Rooney starts to score again, should United fans feel relaxed in the knowledge that their captain will get back into form? Or should they be worried that the club only has three ‘senior’ strikers (Rooney, Martial and James Wilson), two of whom are 19-years-of-age. With new reports claiming that Wilson may be going off on loan to Celtic in the January transfer window, United need Rooney now, more than ever, to get back to his talismanic best, and to prove to fans and staff alike that he deserves the captaincy of one of football’s most historic clubs.