Some have blamed Louis Van Gaal’s philosophies, others claim he is tired, but one thing for sure is that Rooney is not the threat he should be, nor the one Manchester United need him to be.
At 30, few are expecting him to provide the energy he did five years ago. But they are expecting him to provide the spark this United team has lacked at times this season.
The all-time leading England goalscorer has netted just two Premier League goals in 12 appearances this term. He has made double figures for league goals in each of his 11 seasons at Old Trafford so far but looks unlikely to do that by May.
He is no longer the lead striker, despite starting the season in his traditional position. Summer signings Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial have been brought in to give the United side some pace but Rooney is failing to create chances, let alone score them.
The table above shows just how bad a campaign the United skipper is having. He has yet to register an assist in the Premier League this year and has registered fewer shots per game than in any of the previous four seasons.
His attacking output in general is nowhere near as effective as it needs to be. His position on the field will not change the fact that he needs to carry the Red Devils’ attack, especially with youngsters such as Jesse Lingard, Martial and Depay looking to him for inspiration.
The graph above shows how bad the drop in form has been for Rooney in recent years. He has registered half the number of shots per game this term compared to four years ago and has seen his goal output drop by nearly 80% over the same period.
Calls are being made for Rooney to be dropped by Van Gaal. The Dutch manager substituted his captain after the hour mark in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Leicester and it will be interesting to see how much trust is now going to be placed in the 30-year-old England star.
Manchester United’s title hopes are very much alive. If Rooney can pick back up, those hopes could turn into reality next May.
Why do you think Wayne Rooney is struggling to perform to the levels expected of him this season?