Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United squad were back to winning ways this weekend and in an emphatic manner, putting 4 past the Champions of England at home this weekend. The manager finally decided to change things up a bit and dropped the club captain Wayne Rooney for the game at Old Trafford. And the amount of difference it made to the squad was visible throughout the game on the night.
Spanish international Juan Mata, who was not in the plans of the manager at the start of the season, replaced the England international in the first team and snatched the chance given to him to prove himself with both hands, putting in a match winning performance.
Mata, who was once thrown out of Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea because he does not suit the manager’s playing style, has now become an important player for the same manager but at a different club. The 28-year old was unplayable in a central role behind the striker where he linked up well with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović and Paul Pogba, providing the link between the attack and the midfield and also got himself on the scoresheet.
A decent finish saw him pick up the second goal of the game just minutes before a sensual ball set Marcus Rashford free for the third, just before half time. He looked a player who is hungry and wants to prove himself and this might have just pulled the curtains on Wayne Rooney’s illustrious career at the club.
Reports today have suggested the Rooney will not leave the club anytime soon and that he is happy to be a squad player and has decided to see out his contract at the club. However, he may not get enough game time at the club this season after his less than impressive start to the campaign under Jose Mourinho.
The 30-year old has been an integral part of the Manchester United squad and the England national squad for some time now. He is arguably one of the best players this decade and has been a loyal servant of the Old Trafford outfit for a long time now. He is just 7 goals away from becoming the highest goalscorer in the history of the club, but his loss of form recently will now see him start most games on the bench.
There is no doubt that he is still one of the most influential players in the squad and that he will still have a say in Manchester United’s season but the resurgence of Juan Mata might keep him away from the game for some time. Mata has been used in a central position this season and has shown that he has what it takes to control the possession of the ball for his side in dangerous areas. He is not a typical playmaker who will find defence-splitting passes (which he does sometimes) but is a player who loves to be patient with the ball to break open the opposition defences. He may not fit into Mourinho’s direct football but he is a top class player who will only improve the quality in the squad and if he can keep up his form, he might dislodge Rooney for a long time.
Though he is the club captain, Rooney has got enough chances to prove himself this season and his disastrous performance in the Watford game was enough for Mourinho to put the hammer down. The manager is not new to keeping star players away from the game and if he is convinced that Mata is a better option, Rooney has little chance of making it into the first team for crunch games this season.
Do you think Wayne Rooney is no longer the first choice for Mourinho at Manchester United?