Every Manchester United fan has undoubtedly relished the prospect of seeing Henrikh Mkhitaryan get into the mix of things in the Premier League with the Armenian midfield maestro having to settle for appearances off the bench in United’s opening three games of the season.
So far, he’s looked decent signing for United, but lest we forget, there’s only so much you can ascertain from three substitute appearances.
Wayne Rooney has enjoyed a decent run of games this season, notably ahead of Mkhitaryan in the number 10 role.
And while Rooney’s performances have been relatively above average, the 27-year-old would probably be a better option in attacking midfield.
The Skipper’s place in Manchester United’s first team might be as a result of his exceptional pedigree and history with the club.
He’s been a faithful servant to the Red Devils, and he deserves to be lauded for his history in the Premier League.
Rooney’s Place In The Squad
Wayne Rooney’s performances in his natural centre-forward role were on the wane last season that prompted United’s gaffer to try him out in midfield, and he duly delivered which is why he’s currently perceived to be a great midfield player.
But the fact remains that Rooney is simply decent in the middle of the park, but he’s not as efficient as other midfielders in the squad.
Juan Mata or Henrikh Mkhitaryan would be better candidates for a starting role in attacking midfield.
Pogba, Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Fellaini are also much better options in the middle of the park for United. So where does that leave Old Trafford’s favourite son?
Rooney should be relegated to the bench, not because he’s been below par this season, but due to the presence of better alternatives.
Rooney’s ageing legs have seen him become quiet in games, whereas a Mkhitaryan sort of player will be busting to lay on a cutting edge pass for his teammates or take on defenders with the ball at his feet.
Mourinho criticised Rooney’s performance against Hull City and admitted that he has no problem with dropping him, which hints at a potential starting berth for Mkhitaryan the number 10 role.
Mkhitaryan’s stats from last season are a testament to his ability (11 goals, 15 assists exclusively in the Bundesliga). He was also voted as the Bundesliga player of the year last season by his fellow professionals.
Rooney’s Involvement In The Derby
Manchester United currently have a 100% record in the League, but their three-game winning streak is under massive threat ahead of the Manchester derby.
It’s highly unlikely that Mkhitaryan will feature in the clash hence Rooney’s place in the starting line-up will remain unchanged, but coming weeks could see Mkhitaryan come into the fray.
Without Aguero, the Citizens are still a force to be reckoned with hence this will be the first real test for United in light of their title challenge which seems to have gained a massive amount of momentum thus far.