In the Manchester derby last weekend, Wayne Rooney had arguably his worst performance ever in a United shirt as he managed just one shot over the 90 minutes, played zero key passes, completed zero successful dribbles and ended the match with a pass success rate of just 56.7%, the second worst of all starting outfielders.
His WhoScored rating this term (6.87) is his worst in the last seven Premier League seasons and even that stat does not tell the complete story about how bad the United captain has been this season. An average of 2.1 shots per game is his lowest in the Premier League in the last seven seasons, while he is struggling to bring others into play, averaging a lowly 1.1 key passes per game, once again his worst return. Furthermore, an average of 39.7 passes ranks bottom for him in England’s top tier as Rooney continues to flounder on the frontline.
Without scoring goals or bringing teammates into play, Rooney offers very little for United at present. Val Gaal’s reluctance to drop the out-of-form striker is hindering Martial and Memphis Depay’s development, with the former shunted out wide and the latter forced to contend with a place on the bench of late.
The one positive is that with Rooney playing as the No.9, van Gaal has played Herrera in a more advanced role, but the logical selection would be to have the Spaniard start behind Martial, not a laborious Rooney struggling for form.
While Louis van Gaal says he is fed up addressing Rooney’s form in his press conferences, the United boss has a ruthless streak as Victor Valdes and Robin van Persie can attest too. If Rooney’s form does not improve soon, surely it is only a matter of time before the Dutchman’s patience wears out and he elects to drop the striker.