Ian Wright: It’s the beginning of the end for Wayne Rooney at Man United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright believes Jose Mourinho’s decision to drop Wayne Rooney for the game against Leicester City signals the beginning of the end for the 30-year-old.

Rooney was omitted from the starting XI ahead of the contest with Leicester following a series of woeful performances under Jose Mourinho – most notably against League One side Northampton Town.

The captain’s exclusion from the starting XI gave rise to the side’s best performance of the season, with Paul Pogba and Juan Mata able to express themselves going forward in the striker’s absence.

Speaking in the wake of Manchester United’s 4-1 win over the champions, Wright claimed that Rooney is now approaching the terminal stages of his career.

“It looks like the beginning of the end for Wayne Rooney. He looks tired and most of all, he looks forlorn,” he said. 

“All the stick weighs you down and people have been saying he shouldn’t be in the team since the start of the season. Juan Mata was the difference on Saturday.”

Rooney’s consignment to the backwaters at Old Trafford has been on the cards for a number of years now. Indeed, the Englishman’s exclusion serves as a mere continuation of what Sir Alex Ferguson was doing prior to his retirement.

As Mourinho’s side – liberated from the infectious inertia brought by Rooney – decimated Claudio Ranieri’s side, one couldn’t help but wonder why it took so long for the obvious to be realised. The 30-year-old has been holding back this Man United side to an absurd extent.

And as Mourinho looks ahead to Premier League games against Stoke and Liverpool, one wonders how he can justify starting Rooney for the foreseeable future.

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