Wayne Rooney: Depth Will Allow Red Devils to Succeed Without Dynamic Attacker

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistDecember 26, 2012

SWANSEA, WALES - DECEMBER 23:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Swansea City and Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney is one of Europe's most dominant offensive players, but Manchester United will sustain itself with the star striker on the shelf for the next few weeks.

According to the Associated Press (via USA Today), Rooney will miss the next couple of weeks with a knee injury:

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will miss up to three weeks with a knee injury. Manager Alex Ferguson says Rooney strained a ligament behind the knee when he tried to hit a volley late in practice Tuesday.

There's no doubting how important Rooney is to Manchester United's attack, but the Red Devils have plenty of other players who can pick up the slack offensively.

Rik Sharma of The Daily Mail included a table in his piece on Wednesday that showed just that. Sharma shows that in the last two seasons, Rooney has scored 34 goals in 48 games. That comes out to 115.4 minutes per goal, which is obviously a very solid mark.

However, Javier Hernandez seems to be almost as dangerous. In 40 games he's only scored 16 goals, which equals one every 124 minutes. It's hard to expect him to be Rooney, but there shouldn't be a major drop-off between the two players.

Rooney has seven goals and seven assists so far this season, but the Red Devils also have Robin van Persie this year as well. Even with Rooney out, RVP will be there to lead the way at the top of the attack.

Rooney's powerful style, experience and bulldog-like demeanor will be missed, but it would be much worse if he were injured toward the end of the season or in the middle of another huge competition.

Hernandez will fill in nicely for Rooney while he's out. He has five goals already, even though he's mostly used as a substitute. Because of his energy and eye for the net, he's frequently in a position to score.

Rooney is going to miss a few English Premier League matches and one FA Cup match, but this isn't the end of the world. Van Persie, Hernandez and even Danny Welbeck will be able to cover for him while he's gone, which will allow the Red Devils to continue their run at the top of the EPL table.