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Talking Tactics

The Rooney conundrum for managers

18 Dec 2017
Everton v Huddersfield Town - Wayne Rooney and Sam Allardyce

Adrian Clarke looks at how the Everton forward has yet to settle on one role since his return to Goodison Park

Knowing how to get the best from Wayne Rooney’s skill set has been a conundrum for several managers, writes Adrian Clarke.

It has continued at Goodison Park since the 32-year-old returned to Everton, his boyhood club, in the summer.

Before Sam Allardyce’s arrival, Rooney had been used in five different forward roles, but never had more than three matches in the same slot.

Striking up a natural rapport with team-mates was not easy with such frequent changes.

Rooney's roles pre-Allardyce
Position Played
Right attacker behind striker 3
Striker in a front two 2
Lone striker 2
Left attacker behind striker 1

Although rejuvenated by the change in manager, Rooney has continued to be used in a variety of ways by Allardyce in the last four matches.

Rooney's roles in last four matches
Position Played
Left of central midfield three 2
Right wing 1
No 10 1
Magic touch

Playing slightly deeper for Allardyce has not got Rooney on the ball more often.

Indeed his stats here are remarkably similar to when he played for Ronald Koeman and David Unsworth.

It is simply a case of Rooney having found the magic touch for Allardyce, a head coach whom he clearly likes and trusts.

2017/18 MW1-11 MW14~
Mins played 827 325
Touches/90 59.3 58.7
Passes/90 43.1 44.3

He has scored in three of the last four matches, including the Carling Goal of the Month for November from his own half, and delivered a wonderful assist for Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the other against Huddersfield Town.

It was also Rooney’s pinpoint diagonal pass that released Calvert-Lewin and from which the forward earned his side a penalty in the Merseyside derby.

Playing with a spring in his step, and delivering outstanding end-product, Rooney is the man Swansea City should fear most when they visit Everton on Monday night.

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