Opinion – Rooney To Be Dropped And Henrikh Mkhitaryan To Start Against Southampton

Jose Mourinho may have begun his reign at Old Trafford with two successive victories, but there is one man in the current Manchester United side who isn’t quite living up to the bill and that man is Wayne Rooney.

Playing in an advanced number ten role in behind the front man, Rooney has struggled to click in Mourinho’s new look United side.

At now thirty years of age, few if any of us could expect Rooney to be preforming like he did in his earlier days at the club, but what we do expect is some degree of quality and that we haven’t seen that from Wayne Rooney arguably since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson.

Giving the ball away combined with sloppy missed timed tackles and missed opportunities in front of goal have all contributed to Rooney been comfortably the worst player on the pitch in a united shirt. After been handed two successive starts in a row against Leicester City in the Community Shield and against Bournemouth in the Premier League opener, it is finally time for Jose Mourinho to drop his captain and give a chance to Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

The Armenian has yet to start a game thus far under the Portuguese and with the poor form of Wayne Rooney, it begs the question why he hasn’t been more involved.

In playing Mkhitaryan he would give united that extra piece of attacking quality needed to finish off teams in the final third. His clever play on the ball and great all round awareness would find the likes of Martial or Memphis on the flanks, who could then provide Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Marcus Rashford in the penalty area to put the ball into the back of the net.

With the Saints coming to Old Trafford this Friday night, this brings a real opportunity to give the Armenian a start. Southampton will presumably set up in a more defensive formation keeping men behind the ball. To break them down we need a player like Mkhitaryan in that more advanced role. He can find that decisive pass or wriggle around the opposition to score or provide that match-winning goal.

Whether Mourinho chooses to start Mkhitaryan remains to be seen. The likelihood of the Portuguese dropping his captain seems an unlikely prospect. However if Rooney continues to disappoint then we may not have to wait too long before we see Mkhitaryan becoming a regular starter in the Manchester United side.