Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore has called for Jose Mourinho to drop Wayne Rooney after his abject performance against Watford on Sunday.
Rooney, deployed on the left hand side of a midfield three, before moving into a No.10 role in the second half, infuriated Manchester United fans in the 3-1 defeat to Watford.
The 31-year-old, as is always the case, sucked the life out of Man United’s attacking movements at Vicarage Road, constantly losing the ball and notably lacking any fibre of speed or agility.
Speaking after the game, Collymore, amongst many others, called for the captain’s omission from the starting XI.
“Could have swore that Mourinho said Rooney was a nine or 10,” he said.
“Apparently now he’s a central defensive midfielder. Or as I’d put it, a substitute.”
With the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Juan Mata at his disposal, Mourinho could deploy a multitude of devastating formations. Placing Rooney at the axis, however, ruins every single one of them.
The two hallmarks of success at this level is power and energy. Lots of it. But with Rooney at the centre of United’s attacking movements, a gloomy, downright lethargic aura percolates the entire side.
It is agonising to watch Mourinho, a staunch pragmatist, continuing to use the 30-year-old. I mean, this is a man who dropped Iker Casillas at Real Madrid after 14 years of being a regular starter. Why, then, is dropping Rooney – a man, unlike Casillas in 2013, well and truly entering a terminal decline – not an option?