Staying High up the Pitch
Rooney has a tendency to sometimes drop off from the front and go searching for the ball which leaves his strike partner isolated. He would probably score a much higher volume of goals if he stuck to the opposition defence like glue instead of dropping away and looking for the space. This would also allow his strike partner to switch positions across the front line and drop onto the weaker defenders.
Rooney has just been given the armband at international level for England. He is being tipped by many to be the long term England captain and he needs to replicate those skills in a Manchester United shirt. Rooney thrives when he is under pressure to set the example and lead from the front, he also seems at his most comfortable when team unity surrounds him and that sort of respect would be easier to come by if he controlled the United attack with his leadership skills.
Rooney is always one of the players in and around the ball when England and United get a free kick near the opposition box. He could work much harder on become lethal in these situations in the same way that David Beckham did when he was at the club. A higher conversion rate from set pieces would make him a much more complete and a much more dangerous opponent. It would also go a long way to demoralising the opposition if they knew they statistically had a more chance of conceding a goal when Rooney is stood over the ball.
Rooney is not an unfit player by any means but he can learn a lot from the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes when it comes to physical fitness. These are two players who have enjoyed prolonged United careers because they have taken care of themselves. Improving fitness each season will allow Rooney to play for longer and this will allow him to adapt his game so he can be effective in the United side long after he has been replaced by the next hot shot wonder striker.
Although Rooney would undoubtedly be more effective if he stayed higher up the pitch, he can get better by dedicating himself to different roles within the side. It can be very easy to let natural urges take over if you’re a striker playing out on the wing. He showed glimpses of this last season when he was asked to play in central midfield but at the time his urge to press forward left spaces in the team. In an essence, he will get better if he learns the ins and outs of different positions e.g. where to be, where to run, where to cover and where to leave space.
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