Thursday 22 February 2018

'Wayne Rooney looks overweight. I can't see him getting back into United's team'

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney

Harry Clarke

Wayne Rooney is overweight and sluggish and will never regain the edge that made him one of the best strikers in England as long as he is sitting on the Manchester United bench, according to Jason McAteer.

Rooney is out of favour at Old Trafford with Jose Mourinho opting for 35-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford as his attacking options and there is increased speculation that he may be on his way out.

Speaking on Today FM's Premier League Live yesterday, McAteer said: "He came on as a sub. I've got to admit, I thought he looked a little bit heavier. He looked very sluggish.

"Wayne Rooney, I think the way his body is, I think it's not conducive to sit on the bench and not play any kind of football because he won't be playing in the Under-23s. He won't be ticking over and keeping match sharp.

"He'll just be getting his football through coming on as a substitute and I'd have to say that it's not really conducive to Wayne.

"I actually thought he looked overweight to be honest. That sharpness had gone out of his game. Everything he did, as you'd expect, it was safe. It was a lot of passing sideways.

"When Wayne Rooney is on his game and he's full of confidence, he's getting the ball out of his feet and he's hitting them from 30 yards just to try something different."

Rooney came off the bench for the latter stages of United's 0-0 draw with Burnley and spurned one opportunity that came his way.

"He had a great opportunity where they worked it well from a set piece. He got round the back, he ended up on the edge of the box with a free shot on goal - he squandered it over the bar and he was frustrated with himself.

"I can't see Wayne Rooney actually really getting back into United's team. I really can't."

The England man has been linked with a move back to his former club Everton but McAteer is not certain he would fit into Ronald Koeman's set-up.

"He's on a lot of money here. Business-wise it would probably make sense to let him go.

"I don't know whether Everton would be the team for him. I don't know if he would fit into Ronald Koeman's [plans].

"I listened to a debate today. I listened to Andy Townsend and Andy thinks it would be a good move for Rooney to go back, with a point to prove etc. He'd be going back to his first love.

"Wayne would give you 110% but I don't know at what level that 110% is now.

"He's played a lot of football over his career. Started at 16 or 17. England, goes away all the time. Lots of European football with Manchester United.

"There is no doubt about it, he has been one of the greats to grace the Premier League, I am not taking that away from him. He has been a fantastic player. The last of the street footballers too, it will actually be sad when he finishes up.

"Time catches up and your body tells you that you've had enough. I just think that Wayne's at that point."

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