Xavi: Wayne Rooney would benefit from dropping deeper at Manchester United

by Ben Topliss

Barcelona legend Xavi believes Wayne Rooney would benefit from dropping into a deeper role at Manchester United.

Rooney has been in awful form for a while now and there are a number of fans who are calling for the Man United captain to be dropped.

The 30-year-old is expected to be rested for the Capital One Cup clash against Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening.

Xavi insisted Rooney can still play at the highest level but that he may need to rethink his best position going forward.

“Personally I think Rooney still has much to offer, but maybe it’s time for him to adapt,” Xavi said.

“You get to an age and you can’t play the game you once used to, you can’t cover the ground you used to. But intelligent players adapt and there’s no doubting Rooney has a very good footballing brain.

“Maybe it’s time for a new striker at Manchester United, who can run for 90 minutes, but Rooney would be very dangerous in a deeper role. He has the vision and the passing range to play that role very well.

“If he can adapt, there’s no reason why he can’t play at the top level for another five or six seasons. But as a player you must admit to yourself your body is changing and can’t do what it used to be able to do.”

Wayne Rooney 73

Rooney’s performances as a striker have often been detrimental to the team as it means players in better form such as Anthony Martial are forced into awkward positions in order to accommodate the captain. Perhaps Xavi is right in saying that Rooney would benefit from playing deeper, although there is a question mark over whether the Englishman has the necessary qualities to succeed there. His short passing and temperament, for example, are lacking.

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