Wayne Rooney produced a woeful performance in Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Watford in the Premier League.
The captain, rested in midweek with this game in mind, was a turgid, wasteful black spot on Jose Mourinho’s side all afternoon, constantly losing the ball and failing to build any morsel of momentum.
A glance at his stats shed light on Rooney’s substandard display: 83% pass acc, 33% aerial duels won, 2 chances created, 0 shots on target, 1 yellow, 0 take-ons.
The 30-year-old’s terminal decline is detrimental on two different levels: the first, of course, being that Rooney – the once rambunctious heartbeat of the side, scoring goals for fun – is well and truly gone; the second – and this is even more alarming – is that the captain’s attacking inertia is imparting the entire side.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, used to the likes of Lucas Moura and Angel Di Maria picking out gaps with their sheer speed and agility, now finds himself handicapped by a man now well and truly embracing his nadir.
Man United’s complete lack of speed, direction and zeal going forward stems from the captain; and with the likes of Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera all far more capable of carrying out the job demanded of a No.10, Mourinho cannot continue to give the 30-year-old unadulterated access to the starting XI.