Alan Shearer: Wayne Rooney has plenty to offer Jose Mourinho at Man United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer believes Wayne Rooney can still play an important role under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

The 30-year-old has been omitted from Mourinho’s last three starting line-ups, prompting many into claiming that the demotion signals the beginning of the end for Rooney.

Speaking ahead of England’s World Cup qualifier with Malta on Sunday, Rooney expressed his determination to reassert himself on the starting XI at Man United.

And Shearer, who recently encouraged the Englishman to retire from international football, is also adamant that Rooney can still offer a particular dynamic at Old Trafford.

“Jose [Mourinho, United manager] hasn’t played him centre forward as of yet, he has played Ibra [Zlatan Ibrahimovic], with him perhaps just in behind or on the right side of midfield,” he said.

“He still has a massive part to play, there is no doubt about it.

“I think, by his own admission, he certainly isn’t as quick as he once was but that happens to everyone, you don’t need anyone to tell you that is the case.

“He will know that and probably gets fed up of people reminding him of that, but he still has a hell of a lot to offer.

“Someone has to come and take his spot [in the England side], grab his spot.

“First and foremost, he has to start and play for Manchester United or otherwise he might not get in that England team.”

Rooney, in a senior career spanning over 15 years, has featured in a number of huge games: FA Cup Finals, a World Club Cup final, League Cup finals, Champions League finals, and a handful of major tournament contests.

And before his sudden exclusion from Man United’s starting XI, games against Malta and Slovenia would have seemed, well, a bit benign.

However, with his career hanging in the balance like never before, these upcoming qualifiers will, in Rooney’s eyes, equal any major final in terms of importance. One feels that the 30-year-old, on the cusp of anonymity at Old Trafford, is now playing for his career.

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