Manchester United need Rooney and Ronaldo to be Ruud and Beckham

Over at Red Rants, K9 talks about Manchester United’s need for a goal poacher.

In my view, Manchester United are not going to find the next Ruud, or Beckham, or Giggs, or Scholes or Keane or Cantona. Those players were/are unique in their ability to win games for United. What Manchester United ‘can’ do is find and groom players who can win games through sheer will – stars who do more than just impress critics with their work-rate or arm-chair pundits with their ‘reputation’.

And Manchester United already have two such players – Rooney and Ronaldo.

Since Ruud’s departure, we’ve continuously talked about the need for a goal-scoring machine. There are high hopes for Rossi but it’s unfair to expect too much from a kid who hasn’t had a full season at Old Trafford. However, in wonderboy Wayne Rooney Manchester United have a player who can give them 30 goals every season.

There is more to this than just thoughts – Rooney scored 23 this season, when he was publicly being criticised for a lack of form in the Premiership, Europe and even for England. Given the added experience and fresh faces in the squad, is it not possible that Rooney can increase that tally?

Rooney has been pigeon-holed as a support striker. The only reason for that is because his all-round game (apart from his heading, which you can attribute to his height) is excellent – he regularly tracks back to defend, to win balls in midfield and to start attacks. However, just because a player is good everywhere on the pitch doesn’t mean that you don’t use him in the role you need him the most for – scoring goals.

However, even if Rooney starts banging in them goals there are times – crunch times – when the team fails. Cristiano Ronaldo has carried Manchester United many times this season but history, and the media, will always measure his performances in the crunch games and they will say that Ronaldo gave away that ball that led to Arsenal’s goal at Old Trafford, that Ronaldo didn’t show up against Chelsea or AC Milan.

That’s how football is – fickle and cruel at times. Ronaldo needs to rise up to the challenge next season (the way he did this season). Part of that is a mental challenge, the other is tactical, and requires Ronaldo to add more variety to his play.

He should take a leaf out of a former Manchester United #7 and work on his free-kicks and crosses during the summer. Hugging the sidelines when running at defenders is not working is not another profession, it’s part of Ronaldo’s job – and he needs to learn it fast.

Rooney and Ronaldo are already quite fantastic players, and at 21 and 22, they definitely have their best years ahead of them.

But as a Manchester United fan, I can’t sit back and say they’ve done enough. They’ve done a lot, and I thank them for that, but I want more.

Manchester United deserves more.

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