Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Rooney at risk as Mourinho's Man United toil

20 September 2016, 19:15

London - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is under pressure to drop Wayne Rooney, with the captain's clanking performances emblematic of the team's struggles.

United have lost their last three matches and there is clamour among supporters and journalists for Rooney to be removed from the starting XI.

In an online poll by the United fanzine Red Issue, over 99 percent of respondents called for him to be axed.

"Where do you want Wayne Rooney to play? Or should he be playing at all?" former England captain Alan Shearer wrote in The Sun after United's 3-1 defeat at Watford on Saturday.

"Not on yesterday's performance, it is fair to say."

Despite United winning their first three league games, Rooney's lacklustre displays meant his place was already under scrutiny.

With United having since lost to Manchester City, Feyenoord, in the Europa League, and Watford, the calls for him to be dropped are getting louder.

Rooney, 30, was rested for last Thursday's trip to Feyenoord, but he has started all of United's other games under Mourinho.

It was a similar story during Louis van Gaal's two-year tenure as manager. The Dutchman sidelined Rooney only once, for a 2-0 defeat at Stoke City on Boxing Day last year.

Also read: Rooney plays where he wants, says Allardyce

David Moyes, Van Gaal's predecessor, was similarly faithful to the United number 10, whose career he launched at Everton.

But Alex Ferguson lost patience with the England captain towards the end of his storied tenure.

Ferguson claimed Rooney had asked to leave the club for a second time in 2013 and he disappeared from view in the dying days of the Scot's 26-year reign.

Mourinho, whose side host Leicester City on Saturday, has said he would have no qualms about dropping Rooney.

"I can take him out. No problem for me to take him out," Mourinho said following United's last-gasp 1-0 win at Hull City last month.

- Pogba stifled -

As has been the case for much of his career, debate continues to rage about Rooney's best position.

Never quite a true number nine, but not a classic number 10 either, Rooney was deployed in central midfield by Roy Hodgson during England's calamitous Euro 2016 campaign.

Rooney has said he is open to the idea of moving into midfield as his career progresses.

Mourinho appeared to nix that ambition, in the short term at least, prior to the season.

"For me, Wayne will be a number nine or a number 10 or a number nine-and-a-half," Mourinho said. "But with me he will never be a number six, not even a number eight."

Yet in the loss at Watford, Rooney started the game in a midfield three alongside Marouane Fellaini and record signing Paul Pogba.

Once again he looked off the pace, even after moving into a number 10 role behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the second half.

A 'highlights' video flagging up his sloppy touches and wayward passing circulated widely on social media.

"I think playing him as a number 10 is holding back United," former Arsenal defender Martin Keown said in the Daily Mail.

A knock-on effect of Mourinho's deployment of Rooney as a number 10 is that several of his team-mates have been prevented from playing in their preferred positions.

Teenage striker Marcus Rashford, last season's breakthrough star, started on the left wing against Watford.

Juan Mata and close-season signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan, both more conventional number 10s, have had to content themselves with wide roles or places on the bench.

Perhaps most worryingly, in using a 4-2-3-1 system to accommodate Rooney at number 10 Mourinho has been fielding Pogba as a holding midfielder, denying him the freedom to attack that he thrived upon at Juventus.

"Until they find the right balance, you won't see the best of Pogba," said Liverpool midfielder turned BBC pundit Danny Murphy.

Rooney needs only four goals to surpass Bobby Charlton's United scoring record of 249 goals, but his first-team status is more fragile than ever.

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page.



Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...