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Can Rooney replace Scholes?

Note: The following was sent in by one of our readers, Karan.

So we’ve won the premiership. No time to gloat, we have figure out how to get better and how to improve the squad. We want to win the title again next year, and our squad is fragile. Lets face it, the most cover we had was in defense and it’s lucky thats where we got most of our injuries. Our midfield is talented but there’s no depth. If one of scholes, ronaldo or giggs gets a long term injury, how do we cope with that. We saw how badly we fared in 2005 when scholes was not there.

So, thinking along these lines, what’s a good lineup for manchester united? Who should we buy and where should everyone play?

Let’s start in goal. Van der Sar is ok for another season despite some errors creeping in. We should have Ben foster back as third goalie to avoid what befell Chelsea this season.

In defense, we need a left back who’s solid and aggresive. Heinze’s been slow ever since his injury. If Evra develops at any pace, we might be ok. The search for Gary neville’s successor will be more urgent this season. Defense is still not a priority though. I think we actually have pretty good cover in the back line. What happened at milan was just terrible luck.

In the midfield, we need a tough tackling, defensive mid in the keano mould. Apologies to Carrick but he doesn’t fill that role. We need another winger to cover for giggs and ronaldo and eventually take over from giggs. Nani seems the best one out there.

We desperately need a good attacking midfielder to replace scholes. I don’t think a lot has been said about this position since scholes has been in such spectacular form this season, but we’re woefully short of cover in this critical position. Looking at options world wide, kaka would ofcourse be the ideal fit. He expressed admiration for the old trafford atmosphere, and even though he recently got married and got his italian passport, it might be well worth the risk of breaking the bank to get him. He’s one addition that’ll make this squad complete. and devastatingly menacing.

If that doesn’t materialise, I believe we have a ready made option just as good. His name’s Wayne Rooney. Let’s think about it from another perspective. We’re looking for the following qualities in an attacking midfielder to replace scholes:

1. Tough tackling

2. Intelligent footballing mind

3. Great passer

4. Good long range shooting ability.

5. Able to get back and help the defense.

All these capabilities are present in Rooney. He tackles better than Scholes, his vision on the field is incomparable, he possesses a lethal long range strike. He routinely tracks back and defends.

All these skills are essential to a top attacking midfielder but not necessarily needed buy a top striker. Rooney is young, he’s always hungry for the ball and always wants to be involved in the game. Why not develop him into a midfield general and let out n out strikers in the ruud mould take over the striking responsibilities.

By all accounts, Manchester united are already in the market to get a top striker. Why don’t we get 2 and let rooney play behind them. I’m pretty sure he’ll be as devastating as kaka in that position.

This brings us to the strikers. We need 2 top quality strikers badly. There’s no question about it. It’s time to sell saha. I must admit i’m a big fan of dimitar Berbatov and would like nothing better than to see him in Old trafford. He’s got everything and would be a fine addition. I wouldnt mind paying 20 million for him. Anything over that though, is a bit much.

The other ideal addition would be someone like Miroslav Klose. The kind of guy who just scores an imporesive number of goals. A point man. He needs to be good with his head.

So there are my suggestions.

Get two strikers, play rooney behind them. Ronaldo and nani on the wings with a good defensive mid (still unknown bet certainly not owen hargreaves at 20+ million) covering the back 4.

This vision is probably of a team post giggs and scholes but it should provide us with a lot of flexibility. In such a set up, you can always sacrifice a striker, let rooney play upfront with the other, and ssubstitute another central midfielder for games like the milan one where wingers were ineffective.

The bottom line is, Rooney could be the answer to the attacking midfield hole that scholes’s retirement is certain to create.



  1. Pingback: Can Rooney replace Scholes / Best Manchester United formation? | Soccerlens - Football News

  2. sharathciddu

    18 May 2007 at 16:02

    Although midfielders are the ones who create the opportunities for the strikers and control the flow of the game, we need to notice that if the strikers do not finish their job of putting the ball into the net, their efforts would be in vain (the problem Arsenal is facing now). Rooney should play the position he is best at – support striker.

    I would rather love to see Giuseppe Rossi being moulded into Scholes than Rooney

  3. CrazyRach

    18 May 2007 at 16:03

    Firstly, Foster will not be Uniteds 3rd keeper next season. I’m suprised if he will settle for second. He’s already said that he’s not willing to warm the bench. But I’m afraid that could be part and parcel with playing for United at the moment.

    Kaka won’t come to United yet, we don’t have a chance. He would cost way too much.

    On the Rooney Subject, Rooney loves playing as the 2nd striker and its where he plays best, to change that would be criminal. I think Carrick is a good replacement for the Scholes role. His passing is immense and he’ll have plenty of time to learn from him.

    While Klose is a great player, I think he’s too much like Ruud. He’d slow our play down and we’d rely on him too much. I do think it’s time for Saha to go. His injuries are a joke!

    We’ll be getting a defensive midfeilder in the summer no worries there.

  4. sharathciddu

    18 May 2007 at 16:28

    Mate, I dont think Karan was suggesting Foster’s role as playing as a third keeper (At first even I thought he was suggesting him playing as a third keeper, but I cant see a reason of someone suggesting him to play behind Kuszczak). I guess he was just referring that he would be the third keeper to join the squad.

  5. Keith Moses Kaira II

    18 May 2007 at 17:30

    Carrick is Scholes’ replacement. Rooney is a striker. That is how it is. That is how it will be

  6. perif

    18 May 2007 at 19:14

    Yup, Agree with Keith. And there won’t be a replacement for Giggsy cause Rossi will play in a more advanced role in a 4-2-3-1 formation
    And that’s too many players Karan. These many will take time to gel in and we’d have to rotate a lot. And that’s assuming every new player will be an instant hit. I’m sure we’d have a few flops among the ones you mentioned.
    And why upset our winning combination?

    I think we need Bale. I haven’t seen him play but he’s a deadly freekick taker according to others. If so and assuming he’s good at his basic duties a freekick taker is more important to us than Hargreaves.

    You can only imagine the number of fouls we’ll get near the box when we have Rossi – Rooney – Ronaldo playing behind a striker. Bale could be top scorer for all we know. 🙂 He’ll get a hundred freekicks for sure. And consider the fact that players would hesitate to foul us like the last season when we have a deadly freekick taker. That means our attackers will have more chances to shoot when they’re not fouled don’t you think?

    And i don’t know how good Bale is at taking corners. If he is then that’s a bigger bonus. We take the maximum number of shots at goal so we can expect a lot of corners next season. Some resulting from Bale’s freekicks perhaps? 🙂 Which means more opportunities for Vidic/Ronaldo in the box IMO. 😀

    Bale would give us something to smile about!

  7. perif

    18 May 2007 at 19:17

    Scholesy is a much better player in his new role i believe. He’s a more responsible player. We need such types.

  8. samg

    18 May 2007 at 20:34

    as much as i wuld love to see kaka in the red of man utd, its not gonna happen. so i agree with karan as far as it goes to replacing from within.

    rooney is a good striker, lets not ruin him like we did with smith. besides rooney is far too impatient in his tackles, think of the number of bookings and suspensions he wuld get playing in that role. can we afford that?

    when scholes goes, carrick will take his place. at any rate we are going to bring in a hard man in midfield relieving carrick of his defensive duties and i think we all know what he can do in the final third now! bring another striker and a winger and u have all the necessary pieces for a 4-4-2 formation the can convert to a 4-2-3-1 when ever required!

  9. Red Ranter

    19 May 2007 at 06:54

    I’ve got quite a few points of disagreement here.

    Although sarathciddu cleared this up, Foster has to be behind EVDS in the pecking order and not behind Kuczack.

    Rooney’s talent is more instinctive, he is know for those outrageous moves; a quick one-two, electric pace and strength that results in a goal, a long range powerful shot, or an audacious chip out of nowhere. He is not the player of vision who would pull strings for your midfield. Thats Carrick’s job and a waste of Rooney’s talent if he was played in midfield.

    Getting Berbatov for 20 million would be a bargain buy in my opinion, Spurs would be nuts to let him go at that price.

    For me, getting a good DM and a Winger is top priority. Half a decent striker for cheap with less injury worries can suffice. The last thing you want is buying a top quality striker that keeps Rossi out of the team for long periods. The kid needs a run, and getting Viduka on a free would be better business. It is a no loss situation. You have a striker proven in the Prem, who doesn’t have to play too many games and can safely rotate him with Rossi.

  10. Ahmed Bilal

    19 May 2007 at 10:41

    No, rooney can’t be the new scholes.

    Rooney is a striker, let him play in his role, please 🙂 Not a second striker, not an attacking midfielder, a STRIKER. Just because he’s good in different places doesn’t mean he SHOULD play there – otherwise Essien is a right-back and Drogba wouldn’t be a bad central defender.

  11. jamiemm

    19 May 2007 at 12:14

    Hmm I thought about this before and came to the conclusion that it’s not possibile at least for the next few seasons. And the reason is because of attitude and style of play. Rooney hasn’t got the attitude to be a link up player and has a tendency to keep his head down when on the ball he’s still very young and wants to score and create goals as a priority I don’t think he’d fare well doing the Scholes thing + it wouldn’t be hard to be a better tackler than Scholesy I’ve seen better tackling from 8 year olds. Scholes experience and intelligence with the ball is supreme Gattuso took him out of the game in Milan though and we were stuffed. Get a dogfighter like Keano and put Carrick in the advanced role with rooney playing the Beardsley role as he’s better running at players than with his back to them. We need Nani/Ribery .. another striker like MacCarthy or Berbatov and a defensive midfielder and next season could be the best yet. don’t forget Smith and Saha are still excellent up front when fully match fit and Rossi has been excellent for Parma.

  12. Shannon Moss

    21 May 2007 at 10:46

    I Think Rooney would play fantastically in Scholes’ position, however i believe you have to leave Wayne as a striker. I think a big move for Arteta would be ideal with OH coming in as well.

    Just my opinion.

  13. man utd fan

    29 May 2007 at 12:19

    i’ve thought that rooney should play attacking midfield for a long time, no doubt he can be an exellent striker, but he would also be superb as an AM. But with the current trend of about 5/6 CMs, and only a few fit strikers, i doubt he’ll be able to be used in that position. see how things go in a few years time i guess, maybe when he’s older and slower

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