Manchester United fans were left dismayed by Wayne Rooney‘s performance in their side’s 2-1 defeat to Watford in the Premier League.
The captain was deployed on the right hand side of a midfield three in the first half, before moving further forward in the second half, and failed to enforce any positive momentum for Jose Mourinho’s side as Man United’s attack stagnated once again.
United fans were quick to vent their frustration towards Rooney.
Rooney in midfield is horrible to watch. Won't do box-to-box just plays long passes. Rather Herrera or Mata who will play more football
— GetYourTipsOut (@GetYourTipsOut) September 18, 2016
Rooney. Useless. His inclusion means everyone else has to cover for him, then out of position. Terrible first half.
— david (@cardinal_2020) September 18, 2016
It breaks my heart to see how far Rooney as fallen. Achieved so much in his career but it appears it's now limping to the end.😥
— Stuart Pearce (@spjoe9) September 18, 2016
There are numerous aspects of Rooney’s game that one can criticise: his poor first touch; a lack of goalscoring awareness; wilting physical and mental strength, and so on.
But what underpins all of that is one simple fault: a lack of speed. Everything Rooney does is hallmarked by a turgid aura of inertia, a notable inability to play in conjunction with the Premier League’s furious speed.
And this should come as no surprise: he may be only 30, but Rooney has played regularly, without exception, since the age of 17 at this level. It is becoming growingly clear that, above anything, the skipper has simply too many miles on the clock. There comes a point in every player’s career where they must accept their body’s finite capacity to function at this level, and it feels as if that day arrived for Rooney a long time ago.