Wayne Rooney has gone without scoring a goal in the Premier League for 11 matches in a row and it’s his worst record in his career. Despite his poor form, he has been in the starting lineup, barring injuries.
The pressure on the England international’s shoulders has been eased by the arrival of Anthony Martial. The Frenchman was signed on the deadline day from AS Monaco for a reported fee of £36m and it could rise up to £57m.
Martial scored a late goal after he came off the bench on his debut in the Red Devils’ 3-1 victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford. In his second league game, the France international scored twice as United sealed a 3-2 win against Southampton.
The 19-year-old started as a main striker against the Saints, which forced Louis van Gaal to deploy Wayne Rooney in the No 10 role. The former Everton man had no shots on target and even failed to manage an assist.
Rooney struggled as the main man up front and the deep lying forward role is something which he has not been able to do efficiently when his side faced the South Coast club. Van Gaal should interchange his position with Juan Mata.
The Spain international’s natural position is behind the striker. He assisted Martial’s first goal from the left and was inside the box to convert Memphis Depay’s shot, which hit the bar and came towards Mata.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager should play Mata behind the striker and move Rooney on the right. United’s captain’s defensive abilities will help Matteo Darmian and the team while defending.
Rooney has a better pace and defensive abilities when compared to Mata, who is being played on the right side. The former Chelsea man has excelled while playing for the Blues in the No 10 role.
With Martial’s pace and his goal scoring abilities, he would be an ideal fit to play behind the striker and distribute passes forward in all directions. Van Gaal has managed to overturn future of players like Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini.
The Dutchman’s experience and Rooney’s versatility could prove vital if the latter is being played on the right wing. Should this happen, Mata will be played in his preferred role and United will manage to find the back of the net regularly and it will also ease pressure off Rooney.