Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel believes this is the right time for club captain Wayne Rooney to drop back into midfield, just like what Paul Scholes did in the past, by continuing to play deeper and deeper as his career went on.
“Wayne can play in different positions. If you ask him, he wants to play in the No. 10 position, but I’d like to see Wayne develop into a midfield player because he can play a little bit like Paul Scholes did,” Schmeichel explained while coming on as a guest on Sky Sports over the weekend.
“I am sure he can develop the engine to play in midfield,” the former United goalkeeper added.
Interestingly central midfield is an area where Rooney has operated in the past. But as age begins to catch up with him now, many suggest the 30-year-old should play deeper because he no longer has the credibility to get away from defenders when leading up-front.
For Schmeichel, the England skipper has everything he would require making a very good central midfielder.
“His vision and the way he sees football is really beneficial to the way that Manchester United should play,” the Dane said.
“He can play the long passes that we’ve seen [Morgan] Schneiderlin pass, but he can also play the little balls as we’ve seen so many times when he has been asked to play in other positions. He can tackle, he can win the ball back and he can defend.
“But Wayne has to want to play in that position.”
Most importantly, at this moment in time, it seems that Rooney doesn’t want to play in that position. Many England fans think his place at Euro 2016, obviously as a starting forward, is now at risk but the player himself insists he still has plenty to give.
“I’ve still got a few years left, I feel,” he told in an interview with The Sun.
“I’ll keep trying to, first and foremost, help the team be successful and if I can score the goals to help achieve that then that’ll be great. Over the last two years, my form for England has been really good, I’ve scored a lot of goals.”
The 30-year-old Manchester United forward scored seven goals in their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign but has not played since a knee injury back in February.
And his club is currently fifth and just one point behind arch rivals Manchester City with seven matches still to play, and United teammates are confident Rooney’s return can bring the best out of the team’s other forwards as they run for a Champions League place.