Manchester United: An Open Letter to Wayne Rooney

Hi Wayne. The Football Freak here. Needless to say we are huge fans, which makes it even harder to witness your current struggles.

And it’s obvious that your poor form is not down to a lack effort.

When you see figures that suggest that only three Premier League strikers have run further than you this season we realise that you are still putting in the hard yards.

Indeed, having seen Lionel Messi play recently, we think that the problem is perhaps that you are running too much for Manchester United. You are becoming a water-carrier. And you have always been far too good for that.

Messi made his full return to action, after two months out, in The Champions League game against Roma a fortnight ago.

He scored a brace and looked as good as ever.

We feel that the reason for this was that he didn’t try to be the best athlete on the field – just the best finisher.

The function of a forward is to score goals of course. That’s their trade and that is what they are judged on. You have been a consistent and superb goalscorer for Manchester United down the years.

And you have done so with guile and hard work. But perhaps it’s time to be a little more selective in your movement at Manchester United.

Messi picked his moments against Roma and made a vital contribution as a consequence. He didn’t charge around the pitch trying to win every battle for his team mates. Indeed, he spent much of the game walking around the park. It was shocking, at first, to see on that cold night at the Camp Nou. But, as the game went on, and others grew tired, Messi was still as sharp as a tack as a consequence.

He made sure that he was tuned in and ready for those bursts of acceleration which ultimately decided the game.

A goal is just as valuable after 1 minute or 91 minutes and, as a striker, you are the goals man. At your age you need to let others do the leg work while you concentrate on getting into the right pockets of space to finish off the chances.

You and Messi are of course different players. But we think that it’s time for you to be a little more selfish in your game. Forget about trying to make up for the shortfall in quality in midfield or defence and concentrate on scoring goals.

We feel that there is still lots left in your tank as a footballer at the top level. But you are trying too hard right now fro Manchester United. Stop running so much and concentrate on your finishing.

Cheers mate