Hughes believes Rooney can emulate Scholes

by Richard Laverty

Former Manchester United striker and current Stoke City manager Mark Hughes believes Wayne Rooney is more than capable of holding down a midfield position at the club.

Hughes, who had two spells at United during his playing career and was speaking ahead of the meeting between the two sides last week.

Due to the absences of Marouane Fellaini, Daley Blind and Ander Herrera over Christmas, Rooney filled the midfield void with Radamel Falcao getting a run of games upfront.

The club captain showed he was more than capable of playing the role, scoring against Liverpool before adding two more goals to his tally against Newcastle on Boxing Day.

“I think forward players can adapt,” said Hughes.

“Wayne has played most of his career obviously in the forward positions. But he is constantly working with midfield players on a daily basis, he’ll understand the role.

So it doesn’t surprise me to see Wayne is capable in that position.”

Hughes drew on his own experiences of adapting to playing in midfield in his later years with the Wales national team but the Stoke manager believes Rooney is good enough to adapt.

“He’s had to adapt but it’s not a huge change, as a striker that you are often asked to drop into midfield areas. The only difference is that more often than not, you’re facing the goal rather than having your back to it. That was the big problem for me when I played there for Wales, I wasn’t used to that.

“The goal was always the wrong way. He can still score goals from midfield. But it’s a big ask. Maybe if he takes all the penalties and all the free kicks he’ll get close.”

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