Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes Wayne Rooney will flop at Manchester United this season in the same way that Robin van Persie did last term.
Van Persie struggled under Louis van Gaal during the last campaign and he eventually left for Fenerbahce in the summer.
Rooney was expected to flourish as the spearhead for United in van Persie’s absence but he has so far struggled to make an impact, particularly in the Premier League.
Keown insisted he cannot see the “spark” in Rooney’s game and that United are suffering as a result.
“I can see certain similarities between Wayne’s current appearance and that of Robin van Persie last season. It feels like déjà vu,” Keown said.
“Once Sir Alex Ferguson left, van Persie suffered a dip and last season he looked a far cry from the player he once was.
“But was he really past his best or was he suffering as a result of the system and instructions from the manager?
“Now it looks like Rooney is being dampened down in the same way that Van Persie was. He has stopped scoring goals and I’m not seeing the same spark in his game. Wayne is always willing to sacrifice himself for the team but there’s not the same satisfaction and I wonder how much he is being affected by United’s system.”
While it may be a stretch to say that Rooney’s United career is coming to an end, he is certainly going through a worrying patch of bad form. Nevertheless, he scored against Ipswich Town in the Capital One Cup this week and van Gaal will be hoping he can do the same against Sunderland this weekend.