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Striker Regains His Best Form
Posted Apr 28, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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I’ve said more than my fair share about Wayne Rooney this season – and not a lot of it complimentary. Whether or not he was really responsible for the whole contract shenanigans halfway through the season, I’m not sure, but for most of the year the United striker has essentially been a waste of space.
However, mid-way through their surprising semi-final defeat to their neighbours last week, it suddenly became very apparent that Manchester United were missing something: their driving force in the middle. Someone who really took the game by the scruff of the neck. Having watched United three or four times in the month leading up to this game, I realised that it was the potato-headed scouse striker that they were so obviously missing.
I was not pleased.
Yes, amid all the chaos of inconsistency that has been Manchester United’s season, Wayne Rooney has quietly got on with a change of game. With both Hernandez (the buy of the season) and Berbatov knocking the goals in, Rooney has slipped back into a role similar to the one Cantona used to play: dropping just behind the strikers, he has been free to drop more deep and become involved in the central battle.
In a way, you wonder if this is what Rooney would have preferred to be doing anyway, despite his marvellous season last year where he spent much of it alone upfront. In dropping deep, he is allowed to govern the team far more – he is almost reminiscent of a more attacking Roy Keane, perfectly prepared to follow the ball all around the pitch until he gets hold of it.
The goals haven’t flooded in as they did the season before (although his superb hat-trick against West Ham does warrant mentioning), but last year United had no other real options, with Berbatov failing to impress.
Only time will tell if Wayne Rooney is really back on track, but if he continues his form this year, he can truly earn that premature tag he was gifted about being one of the ‘greats’.