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Wayne Rooney – Welcome to Manchester United’s midfield

Among the many tactical switches against Crystal Palace, one that stood out for Louis Van Gaal was to use Wayne Rooney from a deep lying playmaker role. The same has been suggested and deliberated for a long time with Rooney’s rapid lack of pace but unmatched genius on the ball best suited to rally United’s midfield.

We saw clear signs of Rooney being an influential figure from the deeper role with his sublime passing ability. Rooney completed 72 passes with a 90% accuracy and to top it all, he successfully switched the play 7 times in the game, one behind Daley Blind.

Wayne Rooney is ideal for Manchester United's midfield

The above graphic shows why Rooney is so highly rated regardless of the position he operates in. Tonight he was seen all over the pitch and even came close to scoring twice but understanding the nature of his role, he curbed his natural instincts to operate from the deeper role.

His cross-field balls to Antonio Valencia were reminiscent to Paul Scholes and his glory days at Old Trafford. Rooney’s tenaciousness helps him to keep hold of the ball under extreme pressure from the opponents.

He is yet to fully adapt to the box-to-box midfield role but we saw the obvious signs of it becoming a possibility in near future.

The only concern would be his energy levels and how long can he keep going in this new role. But if he can somehow play 70-75 minutes in every game, it would be great news for Manchester United and certainly for England for the upcoming Euro 2016.

Image Credit: Getty