Wayne Rooney’s self-confidence is at its lowest ebb after being ‘dragged down to a level of under-performance never seen before’, according to the Daily Mail.
The newspaper’s Manchester United correspondent Ian Ladyman is clearly keen to absolve Rooney of any blame for a disastrous run of form which has seen him fail to score in the Premier League since October 17.
He writes: “For Rooney, however, these are difficult times. Hamstrung by his manager’s tactical ideas but obliged to offer almost unwavering support after being made United captain, the 30-year-old has been dragged down to a level of under-performance never seen before.”
He played 90 minutes as a striker against Norwich on December 19 but failed to register a single shot on target; he was subsequently dropped for Boxing Day’s trip to Stoke. The striker has scored two Premier League goals and registered one assist in 14 Premier League games this season.
Any suggestion that the 30-year-old Rooney is in decline has apparently been dismissed from within Old Trafford, with the Mail claiming: ‘It is merely a matter of mental fatigue. Rooney is, according to some of those who share a dressing room with him, simply dispirited.’
Rooney is expected to be restored to the starting line-up against Chelsea, when defeat could signal the end of Louis van Gaal’s reign.