Is Jose Mourinho Hanging Rooney Out To Dry?
Wayne Rooney’s role at Manchester United has been under debate for a number of years now but perhaps no more so than it currently is. The skipper had a poor Euro 2016 after being used in a central midfield berth, something his new manager made clear was not going to be the case under his stewardship.
The Portuguese was adamant Rooney would play as a striker or in the number 10 role. Unfortunately for the players, there are better players in both of those positions at the club and it showed here.
The Three Lions captain is simply not at a good enough level to play the role in behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He gives the ball away far too often and does not possess the pace to get beyond the Swede when he drops deep. United would be a better team without him.
With Henrikk Mkhitarayan on the bench the pressure on Rooney in the number 10 position is immense and you have to question whether his manager is hanging him out to dry. Mourinho knows that he does not have the ability or game to play in that position anymore, but by playing him early in the season he can avoid the wrath of any Rooney devotees and justify his decision to faze him out over the coming months. It may seem a little brutal but this is Jose Mourinho.
Bailly The Boss For Jose
Jose Mourinho has put a lot of faith in Eric Bailly. The 22-year-old Ivorian has been thrown into the heart of the Red Devils defence for the majority of pre-season and has looked accomplished and steady, a man looking well beyond his tender years.
The story of the youngster is an interesting one. He arrived at Old Trafford having played just 40 first team league games, yet he convinced Mourinho to part with around £30m for his services. Many in Spain were confused and perplexed by the decision, with people questioning if United had even got the right Villarreal defender, never mind the right player to improve their defence.
In his first competitive action for his new club here he was excellent. The coolest of customers, adds some much needed calm at the heart of defence. At no time does he looked rushed on the ball, while he refuses to go to ground cheaply, making it extremely hard for the likes of Jamie Vardy to get beyond him.
In the air the African was excellent, regularly beating the dominant Wes Morgan aerially. His pace is also a real asset, while Vardy bounced off him numerous times. There were shades of Rio Ferdinand about the Ivory Coast international and United fans will have been delighted with his contribution.
Leicester’s Pace Means They Are Still A Threat To The Top 4
Leicester are being written off again, that went well last time didn’t it? Look, I’m not saying the Foxes are going to win the division again but they don’t look like a team that are going to drop off spectacularly as is the general feeling around the country.
Claudio Ranieri looks to have added well this summer, bringing in more pace and the changes in the second period saw City go all guns blazing with out and out pace. Their starting line-up was not exactly a slow one but it included the probing Okazaki instead of the hugely impressive Ahmed Musa who was introduced for the second 45.
The former CSKA man caught the eye with a brace in midweek against Barcelona and he had an immediate impact here, putting the United defence on the back foot and causing endless problems for the defensive midfield two.
Along with the technical Okazaki and pacey Musa they also have the third option of the physical Leonardo Ulloa. They already have more options than they had in the previous campaign.
Pace will be the order of the day for Ranieri’s men and if they can cope with having more of the ball this term they should be fine. Everyone else has strengthened but going forward, so have Leicester.