Since the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo, United fans have been crying out for another spark in the midfield.
This has increased further as Paul Scholes is slowly losing his footing in United’s starting eleven and now looks set to call time on his illustrious career.
Mesut Ozil was touted to be fill the void after shining at the World Cup in South Africa with Germany, but he instead opted to join Ronaldo at Real Madrid, Wesley Sneider was another high profile name thrown into the hat, but looks unlikely as he has recently signed a new deal at Inter Milan and Luka Modric too was another tipped to come in but he seems like he’s happy at Spurs.
However, within the last few weeks we have seen the emergence of our own creative, goal-scoring midfielder – Wayne Rooney. Yes we all know Rooney has always had the creative qualities, but playing as an out and out striker, we unfortunately did not get the chance to see that side of his game as often as we perhaps should have.
Javier Hernandez, arguably the signing of the season, as we have seen loves to play off the last defender and frequently runs in behind thus leaving a huge hole for Rooney to exploit and that he has! The two of them seem to be telepathic at times and they both relish playing together. With Hernandez’s finishing ability and Rooney’s vision they are the perfect partners in crime. It has brought the best out of not only both of them, but United as a team and the pair are now perhaps the most dangerous combination in the Premier League if not in world football.
Rooney is playing some of the best football of his life, and as Jamie Redknapp quite rightly pointed out, it looks like ‘he’s playing in the park with his mates.’ Rooney is given the freedom to consistently drop in the hole behind Chicarito and dominate proceedings. He is given the freedom of the pitch to come deep when he wants whilst also having the obvious job of supporting Hernandez. It’s a nightmare for defenders when a player like Rooney plays in between the defence and midfield – do I mark him or do I not?
Rooney has been asking this question of defenders and its definitely worked in confusing them, giving him the chance to play in what is clear to see his best and favourable position. The amount of raking balls he played against Schalke, well I lost count, but it’s brilliant to see Rooney not only finally enjoying himself a lot more, but filling the so called ‘void’ we had been missing.
Add the fact that a certain Michael Carrick has re-captured his form and the words creative and midfielder become obsolete in United’s lexicon. Many United fans were calling for Fergie to show him the door, but the United boss’ decision to hand the England International a new contract has indeed paid off.
Carrick is another, who despite his mistake against rivals City in the FA Cup, has looked like a player re-born. He was man of the match over both legs against Chelsea in the Champions League quarter-final and was again world class against Schalke. Against Chelsea he intercepted many of their attacks whilst also playing a huge part in Rooney’s away goal with a wonderful 35 yard cross-field pass to the never-aging Giggs. On Tuesday evening in Germany, he sat in front of Rio and Vidic and made their job quite frankly a stroll in the park if it wasn’t already! He was always an option and again his array of passing was a joy to watch.
So yes it would be an obvious benefit to sign another creative player, but add Carrick and now more obviously Rooney with the likes of Giggs, Park, Valencia and Nani, well I think all United fans can safely say we have cover for the soon to retire Paul Scholes and can tick the box next to “buy creative midfielder”.
Jamie covers Preston North End for Click Lancashire and if you want to discuss this or any other footballing matters with him can be found on twitter so be sure to follow him!