The Incredible Stats Of Rooney's Importance To Manchester United

Wazza is back for the game against Spurs today and, as these statistics show, they need him fit and firing for the rest of the campaign...
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Wazza is back for the game against Spurs today and, as these statistics show, they need him fit and firing for the rest of the campaign...

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For Manchester United, he has played far up front, as a trequartista, as a left winger, as a central midfielder and occasionally as a defender. Yet, not once has he put in a truly dreadful performance. When Cristiano Ronaldo was the star of the show, Rooney quietly assisted from the left wing. When la Maquina left, Rooney literally destroyed defences as a lone striker and now with Hernandez and Welbeck, he seems perfectly at ease in his preferred role as a false-nine, even sporadically playing as a central midfielder for United.

When Wayne Rooney does not play, Manchester United have managed to win only 25% of their Premier League matches this season,  as compared to a staggering 80% when he plays. When comparing total matches played this season (including internationals), Rooney has a better a better conversion rate (56%) than any other striker including Robin van Persie (41%). He also completes almost twice as many passes (697) as compared to the his nearest competitor - van Persie (370), and creates more chances from open play (25 per match) than any other striker. Comparing his shooting, again, he has the highest shot accuracy among the top-five scorers in the league, but has slightly less shots on target that van Persie.

Sir Alex has said that if United ‘survive’ this fixture, they have a great chance of winning the title

There are still a few unpleasant parts to his game that he needs to weed out. His temper for one, which has seen him get himself suspended from England’s first two group games at the Euros, his open frustration when things aren’t going his way which he takes out on everyone from the referee to his own team-mates (Nani would be a perfect example), and his recalcitrant attitude when decisions go against his team, which is often mistaken for contempt. Being the FA’s blue-eyed boy, he has also been at the receiving end of some truly dubious decisions - the latest being only a 2-match suspension for the above mentioned kick.

The fact that Rooney is back in the squad for Sunday’s trip to White Hart Lane must have been a sigh of relief for Sir Alex Ferguson, whose United side slipped to an appalling defeat against Ajax. During the reverse fixture at OT back in August, Rooney was the man-of-the-match as United routed Spurs 3-0, so his return to the starting eleven does not bode well for ‘Arry’s man who were humiliated by Arsenal last time out. To add to the misery, Scott Parker is suspended and Gareth Bale is doubtful. Also, Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 21 matches against Tottenham - a run that stretches to May 2001. Sir Alex has said that if United ‘survive’ this fixture, they have a great chance of winning the title. And with Wazza back in the squad, why worry?

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