Rooney, a striker by trade, was employed in the center of the park playing as a playmaker rather than spearheading the attack.
With the retirement of veteran Paul Scholes the reigns seemed to be handed over to young starlet Tom Cleverly, but since being injured early in the season the Red Devils just haven’t been the same side that started off so impressively.
Multiple players have tried to slip into this role for United with some success, but no one has really provided them with the full package that they seem to be lacking.
Ryan Giggs provides the skill and experience, but just isn’t gritty enough to handle the 2 man middle that Sir Alex so often employs. Darren Fletcher definitely brings the grit and hustle to the middle of the park, but just isn’t that type of distributor that changes the game. Michael Carrick hasn’t been consistent enough to take on a full-time role and is best suited to play a deep lying role which doesn’t combine with Anderson to the fullest potential.
Anderson meanwhile, has been the tops of the class so far. Nevertheless, he hasn’t played with the same confidence and flair that he once displayed at Porto and since his injury. Still, he brings plenty of energy and above average distribution to the holding role, but his lack of confidence in front of goal have been well noted despite his improved scoring rate this season.
So, with Ferguson failing to bring in a new attacking midfielder such as Ozil, Nasri or Sneijder he elected to try his talisman at the role.
And, why not try him there? United have had a major surplus at striker with joint-top scorer in the Premiership Dimitar Berbatov rarely even stepping onto the pitch behind Rooney and young strikers Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, not to mention the veteran Michael Owen and other youngsters that hope for anything more than domestic cup play.
Plus, Rooney is well known for his skilled passing and defensive intensity, often seen clearing the ball of his own lines or working back to become more involved in the flow of the game, despite being employed as a forward. So why not give him an opportunity to see how he fits in?
That’s what Sir Alex did, and it paid off. Rooney wound up scoring the game clinching 2nd goal late to capitalize a solid performance, even if the team didn’t play it’s best; Ferguson was vindicated in trying Rooney in a different role.
Should Rooney continue to play out of position? Could this turn out to be Wayne’s best position? Tired of hearing about all the commotion already? Feel free to leave feedback or follow on Twitter @TheZRoberts.
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