Wayne Rooney single-handedly stirred into me a love for Manchester United. I admired the passion that he played with. My first kit was an England Rooney 10 kit given to me as a gift by my childhood best friend. After that moment, you could find me week in and week out wearing that white England Rooney kit every weekend, watching United. Wayne Rooney became a massive role model of mine. I respected his leadership and grit.
‘Leadership’ is more than just the title of Sir Alex Ferguson’s book. Some great players have that innate ability to lead, while others do not. While, Rooney’s goals were great, the main reason United needs a player like him is for his leadership. It is great that United currently has one of the youngest squads in England. However, an overly youthful team can create a lack of leadership in the dressing room.
Leading From the Front
A caption that leads by example is crucial to a successful team. Since Rooney moved on from Old Trafford, Michael Carrick, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Youg, and Harry Maguire have captained the club. None of them could fill the gaping hole that was left by the absence of Wayne Rooney. However, Harry Maguire has an opportunity to rectify that.
Whether Maguire leads the team or someone else, United needs a players a commander on the pitch. Personally, I expected David De Gea or Paul Pogba to fill the void when Wayne moved on. However, while both players have shown glimpses of pure talent and the leadership potential, neither could fix the issues at Old Trafford.
United needs a captain or veteran player that can advance the squad and instill work ethic. The youth at United has some much potential, but without a strong leader at the helm, we could be seeing more Jesse Lingards and Ravel Morrisons.
Rooney could play nearly anywhere on the pitch for United. Nowadays, the only player who has played in nearly every spot on the pitch is Andreas Pereira for very, very different reasons than Rooney. The reason United needs a versatile player is to cover the weak spots when other first-team players go down with injuries.
This player could be bought from the transfer market. Targets like Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish can play virtually anywhere upfront, while defensive all-around players are already at the club. Scott Mctominay is a good shout because he covers anywhere in the midfield. Luke Shaw and Eric Bailly both can play as a full-back or a center-back.
Man Amongst Boys
Rooney was an absolute brute. Having a physically (as well as mentally strong player) in your line improves everyone else on the pitch. Paul Pogba is a key example of this. When Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimović played alongside Pogba, he played tougher than he does now. Strength is contagious, and the more gritty players United play, the better the entire squad will be.
Thanks for reading. Glory Glory Man United.
Written by CJ Szaz