Manchester United: Examining the Resurgence of Wayne Rooney

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Manchester United: Examining the Resurgence of Wayne Rooney
David Ramos/Getty Images
Rooney is enjoying a resurgent season under David Moyes

Though it was by no means a poor season, Wayne Rooney didn't seem to be himself in the 2012/13 Premier League campaign.

With nagging injuries and the task of getting acclimated to a new role as a No. 10, the Englishman was very inconsistent and saw his league goals tally fall from 27 to 12 over the course of two seasons.

This season, however, it seems as if Rooney is back.

While he is still playing mostly as an attacking midfielder, his strong play as well injuries to Robin van Persie have forced David Moyes to use him as the lone striker at times.

He has seen time at this position when the Dutchman is out, or when Moyes simply feels Rooney is the better option (he got the start against Real Sociedad on Tuesday and was later replaced by Van Persie).

Still a great playmaker, Rooney has learned to balance the amount of time in which he roams and sets up others with the amount of time he goes to goal himself more effectively.

The latter was greatly compromised last season, as he would frequently drop deep into the midfield and essentially eliminate himself as a goalscoring threat throughout the course of games.

He is still doing this at times under David Moyes but is certainly attacking more, with five goals in nine EPL games putting him on pace for a healthy 21 on the season.

United fans will certainly be encouraged by Rooney's goal total to start the season, but the even more encouraging statistic is how much more accurately he is striking the ball.

Per Squawka, Rooney has seen has shot accuracy jump from 57 percent to 67 percent from last season to this season, putting him firmly ahead of Daniel Sturridge, Robin van Persie, Oliver Giroud and even Luis Suarez.

Julian Finney/Getty Images
Suarez and Sturridge have been good this season, but at least in terms of shot accuracy, Rooney has been better

An increase in his dribbles per game from 0.4 to 1.7 also shows a little more liveliness from Rooney, showing a desire to take on more players and be more aggressive that will be welcomed by fans.

Even with his goalscoring form back, and a little flair added to his game, Rooney is still one of the smartest players in the United squad, and he holds a great responsibility to distribute to his teammates as well.

He has six assists in all competitions so far, as there is no doubt he can be a playmaker when wants to be.

This season, he has been that playmaker when necessary but has also had a refreshing rebirth in his attacking aggression and creativity.

It's good to have you back, Wayne.

 

All stats and info via ESPN FC unless otherwise indicated.

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