Friday 17 January 2020

Ryan Giggs says Wayne Rooney has been left 'confused' by Jose Mourinho

Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney (left) and French star Paul Pogba. Photo: PA
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney (left) and French star Paul Pogba. Photo: PA

Mark Critchley

Ryan Giggs has suggested that Wayne Rooney could be “confused” by Jose Mourinho’s insistence that he is not a midfielder and that he should play up front.

Giggs, appearing as a pundit on ITV’s coverage of England’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia, was reacting to Gareth Southgate’s decision to drop the national team captain to the bench.

Rooney has also lost his starting place at club level under Mourinho, having been named among the substitutes in each of Manchester United’s last three fixtures.

“I see a player who’s going through a transitional period, I went through it when I was 29 or 30, where I was a winger and I couldn’t knock it around a defender and get it the other side,” Giggs said.

“I feel a little bit sorry for him. Towards the end of last season and for England in the summer he was played in that deeper role, then he was told he’s playing as a No 9 or a No 10. He’s probably a bit confused.

“The only way he can get it back is on the training pitch,” he added.

“I don’t see him playing in a specific position, he’s got the talent to play so many positions, and the experience.”

Rooney, who turns 31 this month, has suggested on several occasions that he may be better suited to a role in midfield, claiming that he is “not as quick as he once was”.

Mourinho, however, feels that his captain’s best position is further forward, as either a No 10 or a striker.

Rooney has since denied that there is a conflict between his wishes and those of his manager, insisting: “I believe in the managers I work under and if that's where they want me to play, that's where I'll play.”

Southgate, who is taking charge of England on an interim basis following the departure of Sam Allardyce, has claimed his decision to drop Rooney is purely a tactical one.

“It is very straightforward,” he said on Monday. “We’ve looked at Slovenia, the way they play and the profile of midfield that we wanted to play, what was needed for this game.

“In no way is it a reflection on Wayne’s performance on Saturday [in a 2-0 win against Malta].

“In fact, we were very pleased with what he did; we knew he would have a lot of the ball, he dictated the game, and played with great tactical discipline.”

(© Independent News Service)

Independent News Service

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