Neil Custis believes Wayne Rooney has been ‘hung out to dry’ by Manchester United.
The 29-year-old England captain has so far failed to find the net for Man United this term, leading to accusations that he is too old to be the clubs sole No.9.
Rooney scored 12 goals and contributed five assists last term but is currently on a ten game barren run without a goal which has only ever happened two times previously in his whole career.
Despite how poor Rooney has been in front of goal, Custis says he feels sorry for him and believes he is not receiving the service he needs to properly thrive as a No.9.
He said: “Everyone is criticising Rooney, but if you look at how United play, Rooney is being hung out to dry. I feel sorry for Rooney. The ball does not come out from the back quickly enough, it is slow, it is ponderous, and any defence who is organised can see it all coming.
“At the moment he is going out on the pitch and trying to do all four jobs. I don’t think Rooney just wanders. If you look at Robin van Persie in the last two years, he didn’t come looking for the ball and didn’t affect the game in any way.
“Rooney can play as a No 9, but not if there are two centre-backs on him and he has no support. His head must be spinning. Sir Alex Ferguson played him out wide, van Gaal this time last year told him that he is not good enough to be a No 9, so you’ll have to reinvent yourself as a midfielder.
“He then became a No 10 and a deep-lying playmaker. Now he is being told he is a No 9.”
Custis is right when he says Rooney has been moved around too much in his career. At times last season the 29-year-old was asked to play as a holding midfielder in one game and then a striker as a next, meaning his form was almost certain to fluctuate as the season progressed.
What van Gaal has to do is find a way to get the best out of Rooney up front and maximises his goal threat which, at the moment, is looking rather tame.