Martin Keown: Wayne Rooney could emulate Paul Scholes in midfield role

by Ben Topliss

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes that Wayne Rooney’s long-term future at Manchester United could be in midfield.

Rooney lined up alongside Juan Mata in the middle of the park at Old Trafford as Man United secured a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

Keown was impressed by Rooney’s performance in midfield and suggested that he could “thrive” in the position in the coming years.

“I was at Old Trafford last night, and one player who really impressed me was Wayne Rooney,” Keown said.

“He was playing in a deeper role and his passing reminded me of Paul Scholes at times. He was spraying fantastic cross-field balls around, but it looked like he was lacking a bit of fitness. With a bit better conditioning, I feel he could really thrive in this role for club and country going forward.”

The subject of Rooney playing in midfield often arises due to his long-range passing but he only ever plays there against the weaker sides.

His short passing, temperament and touch may be exposed against the better players, although that is not to say that the idea should be ruled out completely. Rooney certainly faces a fight to get back into his favoured position up top as Marcus Rashford is in scintillating form.

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