"ROONEY!...it defies description! How about sensational? How about superb?" It has been over six years since the day when even the great Martin Tyler was lost for words on seeing a certain Scouser settle a Manchester derby with an overhead kick that justified "The White Pele" tag he had been given.
After the Arsenal game, however, even one of the most loyal Rooney fans I have met refused to utter even a few words in his defence. How could he? Against the Gunners, Rooney's performance was shambolic, his game awareness non-existent, his decision making - let's call it questionable. He looked a pale shadow of the player who had ripped through a better version of the same team as a teenager. He had come up against an Arsenal defence that the current crop would shudder to stand alongside and the then Everton lad had come out on top.
Yesterday, through, the 31-year-old was dominated by the likes of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey. He looked much like Gary Neville against West Brom, when the former United man decided to hang up his boots during the halftime break,
But it isn't just the Arsenal game that is a concern and let's get something straight right now - this is not a witch hunt in the aftermath of the Arsenal defeat. Rooney's performances for a few seasons now have been abject, to say the
So if the goals have dried up, where does Rooney fit in at United? Many
Following the departures of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez to Manchester City in 2009, United
But times have changed now. United are no longer short on world stars. They have the world's most expensive player and the most expensive teenager on their roster and Rooney just can't compete with the likes of Paul Pogba and Antony Martial. And while both Moyes and Louis van Gaal failed to solve United's Rooney problem, Mourinho was quick to bench him after the Watford game and since then, he has not been able to break back into the team.
But it is not entirely his fault that he is not able to perform well on the pitch. Anyone who has followed Rooney's career from his early days at United will tell you that he needs a few steady games under his belt to get out of first gear and has always been a player who has scored goals in patches. While that is most certainly the case here, he is unlikely to get a run of 5-10 games under Mourinho's "ruthless" stewardship if he doesn't
Rooney has nothing left to prove at United. He is already the greatest goalscorer in the club's illustrious history. He has won literally everything that club football has to offer and if United win the Europa League, the set will be complete. He needs to pick a new club where he is top dog again because at the age of 31, Wazza still has a lot of football left in him and it's just a shame that it won't be at United.