Game Over? Is It Time-up For Everton’s Wayne Rooney?
Wayne Rooney’s football career graph was ever-increasing years ago, but right now it only appears to be dwindling further. From being a prolific Manchester United hero to making a return to his boyhood club Everton, Rooney has seen it all. Ask any Red Devil and they will fondly recount memories of the striker coming in and smashing goal after goal to take United to the top. Of course, towards the end of his time with United, Rooney’s performances did take a hit and he simply was not able to make room for himself in the squad.
After joining Everton in the summer, he was expected to settle in with the squad and elevate the Toffees’ attack. However, things have been anything but that. Everton have been struggling majorly and while Rooney is doing his duty, he is not producing results. Ultimately, their failures on the field cost Ronald Koeman his job.
Now, interim manager David Unsworth has to rebuild confidence and change the mindset of his players. However, it is noteworthy that there was no place for a No. 10 in the starting XI in the midweek as Unsworth opted for three central midfielders with Aaron Lennon and Kevin Mirallas providing width on the flanks. The absence of a No. 10 points towards an issue that has largely gone unnoticed: Everton look better without many of their new signings on the pitch.
In fact, Everton may have lost in their Carabao Cup match against Chelsea but then their performance was encouraging. The Toffees had the pressing, tempo and width, which was lacking in previous matches.
Despite being the top scorer thus far with 4 league goals, his best position remains unclear and the lone striker role is not a good fit. Rooney no longer carries the physical attributes needed to play up front on his own. He has slowed down with age and tends to drop too deep and leave Everton without a focal point in the final third.
If Unsworth continues with a 4-3-3 setup that makes use of two wingers, with no No. 10 and only one forward, there seems to be no obvious place for the 32-year-old. Price tag and reputation are irrelevant at this stage as all that matters is how the Everton players fit into the pressing and high-tempo style Unsworth seems to be demanding.
So is it the end of the road for the legendary Wayne Rooney?
Well, Everton are yet to zero in on a permanent manager. Rooney may prove to be vital in the long run. However, as far as the short-term goes, the forward will definitely find it tough to make a spot for himself in the squad if this is how Unsworth continues – and that may not be such a bad thing for Everton.