David Moyes must look beyond Wayne Rooney
He wears the number 10 jersey. But that's about all he does as Manchester United''s number 10. Don't get me wrong, I love Wayne Rooney as much as any other Red Devil but I love him as a striker. As a goal machine.
Because really that's what he is. As your target guy Rooney is phenomenal, with a wide array of shots, and the recently fine tuned free-kick, he has the ability to score literally from anywhere on the field and at any time.
But if there is something the ex-Everton player is not, then that is a creative 'play-a-maker'. Yet Moyes insists on playing Rooney in the hole, behind Robin van Persie, ostensibly linking the midfield with the attack and supposedly feeding RvP with a steady supply of balls and half chances to convert.
Well, it's not happening.
So far Rooney has notched up two assists. Both came in a beautiful little cameo in United's first league game against Swansea. In the six games since, he has scored 3 goals (mostly from dead ball situations) but no assists.
Even in the past, Rooney hasn't been much of a creator. In the last three seasons he only created 29 goals while he scored 50 himself! Clearly, he's a man who likes to put the ball into the net, rather than watch others do it.
In the beginning of the season, Moyes said he wanted Rooney to score 30 goals this season and for him to build a strike partnership with Robin van Persie. But for that he has to play up front, consistently getting at the end of crosses and through-balls. Currently he seems to be at the wrong end, having to drop deep into United's porous midfield to help in defending the ball or to retrieve it from the opposition and bring it forward in attack.
Moyes' biggest worry at the moment would be the lack of attacking threat from United from open play. This is mostly due to a lack of creative spark in the middle of the pitch. Against Sunderland, on Saturday, the 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj filled that gap beautifully.
Another player who could fill that slot is Shinji Kagawa who has only played for 44 minutes for United in 7 league games so far. Moyes needs to get his top two strikers up into the opposition's box, but he must ensure that there is a healthy supply line feeding them balls to score from.
So far United have looked like a disjointed unit where nobody is creating chances leaving both van Persie and Wayne Rooney frustrated, isolated figures on the pitch.
More about Raghav Chopra
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