To say Wayne Rooney’s performances have been called into question of late would be an understatement.
The England captain’s display against Watford on Sunday led the Daily Telegraph to call him “just no longer good enough”.
So where is it all going wrong for Rooney? Looking at the statistics, it all seems to have started with Louis Van Gaal…
Following the arrival of the Dutchman however, Rooney’s attacking threat almost halved, dropping from 0.93 to 0.50 goals or assists contributed per game, with only 20 goals and 11 assists over two seasons.
Under Jose Mourinho, Rooney has only slightly improved in this respect, with an average goal/assist contribution of 0.57 per game after his goal and two assists this season.
Under Ferguson, Rooney was managing 3.62 shots a game and 3.49 under Ferguson’s fellow Scot, Moyes. Under Van Gaal however, Rooney only managed 2.42 shots a game, and he has had only 2.09 so far under Mourinho.
This is perhaps the crux of the debate surrounding Rooney, then. Under both LVG and Jose, Rooney has played in a deeper role and predictably it is under both of them that he has had less sight of goal.
Rooney’s shot accuracy was also less than 40% under Van Gaal, although this has leapt to 54.5% this season.
After yesterday's performance I finally agree with @jasoncundy05 Rooney is finished! Some of the worst passing I have seen in a long time!— Peter Phillips (@Peter__Phillips) September 19, 2016
The England striker’s passing accuracy has improved from 80.1% under David Moyes to around 84% since then. Is this really an improvement though? Once again the issue of where Rooney is playing is significant.
In his deeper position of recent seasons, Rooney has had easier passing options readily available to him. This meant a spike of 40.8 successful passes per game in Van Gaal’s first season – but this has dropped back to about 33 since then.
These simpler passes have limited Rooney’s creativity, something which was evident in the game against Watford.
Rooney's passing yesterday:
Passes played 40
Successful balls forward: 6 pic.twitter.com/tzkURZrmvL— Coral (@Coral) September 19, 2016
This darker, petulant part of his game appears to be returning however, and can’t be blamed on Van Gaal. His yellow card at Vicarage Road was his third of the season – in contrast to the four he received all of last season under the Dutchman.
Similarly, this season Rooney’s foul rate has been 1.71 per 90 minutes – a figure which has increased from around one a game in previous seasons.
Whether or not this change in Rooney’s disciplinary record is due to his new manager’s tactics or his own personal frustrations is unclear – but there’s no doubt England’s captain has a lot to be frustrated about.