Rooney's evolving role at United

Despite team success, could the vet's diminished offense lead to a transfer?

Updated: March 1, 2013, 1:43 PM ET
By Joe Prince-Wright | ESPN Insider
Manchester UnitedMichael Regan/Getty ImagesWayne Rooney (center) has played more of a facilitator role this season for the Red Devils.

Wayne Rooney has been the main man at Manchester United since he arrived in 2004, piling up 191 goals in 391 matches. But with the arrival of red-hot striker Robin van Persie over the summer, and United's other strikers warranting playing time with goals and great performances, Rooney has played a peripheral role in the Red Devils' success this season.

Currently with 11 EPL games to go, the Red Devils are 12 points clear of second-place Manchester City. The EPL crown beckons and Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to make Rooney play understudy to RVP, for now, seems justified.

Rooney has often been viewed as a frustrated figure out on the wing this campaign, as RVP has smashed home plenty of goals and the Old Trafford faithful have a new hero. Plus, Rooney's form has England fans worrying if his slump in front of goal will continue and if Fergie's decision to make him play second fiddle to van Persie is harming the Three Lions' chances of wining the World Cup in 2014.

Now, more than ever, Rooney is feeling dispensable at both the club and international levels. With reports of Paris Saint-Germain and other clubs circling for his signature this summer, could England's top striker move away from the EPL?

Here's a look at how Rooney's role has evolved with United this season and what it means for the striker going forward.


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Joe Prince-Wright is a freelance writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a former college soccer player and now plays for Arbroath FC in the Scottish Second Division. He's covered the English Premier League, Serie A, Major League Soccer and the U.S. national team for several years.