In the wake of transfer deadline day, Parker insists Louis van Gaal's captain hasn't been up to scratch this season, per Eurosport, and if it's between him and Robin van Persie for the bench, Rooney must be sacrificed:
Once Van Persie is fully-fit again, Rooney must be the person to be dropped from United's new attacking line-up: for me, it'll be RVP and Falcao every time. And though there's lots of talk about him playing in the hole behind that front two, I think that'd be a huge mistake - why would you have Rooney there when Juan Mata or Angel Di Maria would do the job so much better?
That'll leave Van Gaal with a big call to make: dropping Wayne Rooney. He's always shown in his career that he's not afraid of the big decisions; he showed it most recently with his goalkeeper substitution for the shoot-out at the World Cup, and he'll have to show it once again because the way things are looking there will be no place for Rooney in that starting line-up soon.
It would be a crazy turnaround of events at Old Trafford if Rooney were to indeed go from hero to villain in such swift circumstance, having only been given the club armband several weeks ago.
The striker himself is quoted by The Telegraph's Henry Winter responding well to the club's most recent coup, although he did confess that he doesn't know what it means for his own role in the team:
Rooney on Falcao: "Fantastic signing, one of best players in world. I don't know how it will affect my role. You'll have to ask LVG' #mufc— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) September 2, 2014
Eurosport's Tom Adams and Samuel Luckhurst of the Huffington Post both concur that Rooney is the man who must be lost so that Falcao can fit into his new surroundings:
Do agree with Parker: United's best team surely has a fit Van Persie with Falcao and Mata as a No. 10. His form's patchy but that's his role— Tom Adams (@tomEurosport) September 2, 2014
Paul Parker right on Rooney. Fletcher was more of a captain at Burnley, as Rooney pointlessly ranted at Foy.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) September 2, 2014
It of course all relates to how loyal Van Gaal intends to be to the 3-5-2 he's so adamantly fought for since arriving at Old Trafford.
Thus far, Rooney has been one of that front two with Juan Mata playing the No. 10 role, but it's true that Rooney's versatility allows for a variety of positional swaps, whether it be dropping deeper or out wide.
Falcao's Premier League adaptation must be considered a priority, his goal threat promising to significantly boost the dismal ratio of two goals in three league games that currently haunts the team.
Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News states that irrespective of how Falcao and fellow new arrival Angel Di Maria slot into the side, United's longer-serving attackers simply have to up their standards:
@AlecPurdie Think Rooney, Van Persie and Mata have all been poor. That needs to change, with or without Di Maria and Falcao.— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonMEN) September 2, 2014
Falcao brings a terrific scoring presence to the club, but he cannot restore Manchester United to their former glories unless those figures already in the side double their own efforts, too.
ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson depicts the Colombian international's scoring ratio from his year on the French Riviera:
Falcao scored 13 goals in 22 games (all competitions) in total for Monaco. 3 of those were penalties. Ligue 1 fans right to be disappointed.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) September 2, 2014
Sacrificing Rooney so that Falcao can thrive isn't a decision all would agree with, many believing England's workhorse to be an invaluable resource for both club and country, a figure whom teams are modelled around.
However, desperate times call for desperate measures, and few at Old Trafford have known times as desperate as this in their history. Van Gaal has difficult decisions to make in the weeks and months to come, and his tenure might be defined by how he uses Rooney and Co.