Wayne Rooney revels in role of midfield diamond

The United player is not concerned about his current lack of goals – he derives as much pleasure from providing them for others. A future as an attacking midfielder surely beckons.

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Where would Manchester United be without Wayne Rooney? It is a question Sir Alex Ferguson probably does not want even to contemplate but Alan Pardew thinks he knows the answer. “I would go as far as to say Wayne Rooney is the difference between United being a top-four team and a top-two team,” said Newcastle United’s manager. “That’s how influential and powerful he is.” Pardew was speaking 48 hours before Rooney served as the catalyst for United’s 3-0 Premier League win on Tyneside, where his deployment at the apex of Ferguson’s new-look midfield diamond proved a key factor in Newcastle’s undoing.

Quite apart from helping recalibrate United’s resources, balancing their near-embarrassment of attacking riches and shortage of midfield steel, Rooney’s new role seems ideally suited to a player who has lost some of the scorching acceleration over short distances which characterised his youth. Since then Rooney’s vision has improved, his passing range is even more varied and his tackling technique has become more measured. Alongside such newly acquired poise the old energy, aggression, improvisation and sheer physical power still bristle, thereby making the England forward ideally suited to the all-consuming nature of attacking midfield life.

Not that a man who, due primarily to Roy Hodgson’s limited attacking options, is likely to find himself reverting to an outright striking role for England, has abandoned the idea of scoring some himself. Indeed there is no reason why, often arriving late in the box a la Frank Lampard, Rooney cannot combine affording United enhanced midfield tempo with registering a decent percentage of their goals.

Nonetheless, there may be a psychological benefit to being regarded more as a creator than a pure finisher. In a sport containing as many ego clashes between high-profile strikers as instances of telepathy, Rooney does not appear remotely bothered by the prospect that Van Persie might start hogging the headlines.

“I’m not at all anxious about scoring,” added Rooney, who is still waiting to celebrate his first goal of a season interrupted by injury. “We’ve got players who can score goals other than myself. I’m not concerned about it; if it comes, it comes. As long as we’re winning I’m not really worried.”

Read the entire article ” Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney revels in role of midfield diamond” on the Guardian website.

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