Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has reportedly told Wayne Rooney to concentrate on his own performances rather than focus on his team-mates.
Rooney has endured a poor start to the new campaign and was dropped from the starting eleven by Mourinho against Leicester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.
Without Rooney the Portuguese seen United produce arguably their finest display of the season so far defeating reigning premier league champions Leicester City 4-1.
According to the British tabloid newspaper the Sun, the new United boss had a meeting with Rooney who had reportedly criticised his team mates during the half time interval in the clubs recent 2-1 loss to Manchester City. Mourinho is understood to have told his skipper that he cannot criticise other players in the squad when he himself is not performing well.
Whilst Rooney was left out of the starting eleven by Mourinho on Saturday it is widely expected that he will make a return to the side against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday night in the Europa League.
Manchester United’s excellent performance against the foxes without their skipper has now raised the question are the Red Devils better off without Rooney in the starting eleven? And the answer is an undoubted yes.
Removing Rooney from the side gave United far more pace going forward. In the opening league games United were slow in the final third, they lacked a real cutting edge in there play, however in taking Rooney out of the eleven it allowed the likes of Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera to fully express themselves and in doing so made United far more of an attacking threat.
Now at the age of thirty the united faithful do not expect Rooney to perform at the level he once did back in his early twenties but they still expect a certain level of quality and Rooney hasn’t produced that level of quality for some time now. Dropping him from the starting eleven was for the best interest of not only the football club but for the player too. In the past Rooney has always responded positively to being dropped and in being dropped it could act as springboard for him to turn his form around.
Taking him out of the starting eleven was a timely reminder to not only Rooney but to everyone in the squad that nobody is untouchable and they simply will not be picked if they do not perform on the pitch. Mourinho has no room for passengers and should Rooney fail to rediscover his form he could be on his way out of Old Trafford sooner than he might have imagined.