Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker insists Wayne Rooney should be dropped from Louis van Gaal’s lineup, claiming the club captain’s performances have been ‘awful’ so far this season.
Handed the armband this summer in the wake of Nemanja Vidic’s departure to Inter Milan, the England international has managed one goal as the club have gone winless in their opening three Premier League games, while also suffering a humiliating 4-0 defeat to MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.
With the big-name attacking additions of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao towards the end of the transfer window, the skipper now faces some serious competition for first-team minutes, and Parker believes he should be the odd man out based on his recent form.
‘As for Wayne Rooney, he's been awful. There he was at Burnley this weekend, supposedly captaining the team - but I saw a player interested only in himself, doing nothing to try and lift his game or inspire his team-mates,’ he wrote on Yahoo Eurosport UK.
‘The only thing in any way remarkable about his performance is that he collects £300,000 a week to play that badly.
‘Once Van Persie is fully-fit again, Rooney must be the person to be dropped from United's new attacking line-up: for me, it'll be RVP and Falcao every time.
‘And though there's lots of talk about him playing in the hole behind that front two, I think that'd be a huge mistake - why would you have Rooney there when Juan Mata or Angel Di Maria would do the job so much better?’
Having shown he’s not averse to making big decisions in the past, Parker also maintains that Van Gaal wouldn’t hesitate in dropping the forward if he thought he was underperforming.
‘That'll leave Van Gaal with a big call to make: dropping Wayne Rooney,’ he added.
‘He's always shown in his career that he's not afraid of the big decisions; he showed it most recently with his goalkeeper substitution for the shoot-out at the World Cup, and he'll have to show it once again because the way things are looking there will be no place for Rooney in that starting line-up soon.’
It remains to be seen how the new-look United will line-up following the international break, but it’s clear that the Dutchman will have to leave out some of the attacking talent at his disposal and, if the ex-Everton man’s struggles continue, then the calls for him to be dropped could become more widespread.
Is Rooney's starting spot at Manchester United in danger?