When Paul Scholes finally called an end to his illustrious career at Manchester United, many fans were expecting a replacement. A big money move was expected to be made for a top quality play maker.
Luka Modric, Samir Nasri, and Wesley Sneijder headed the fans' list for the type of player that would fill the void left by Paul Scholes.
Daily transfer rumors linked various names to United, but many overlooked a talent already in their ranks.
The attacking midfield position was arguably made famous by Paul Scholes. Scholes laid the framework for how the attacking midfield position should be played with his intelligent runs, booming shots and perfectly weighted passes. The bar is set high for any player who is to fill the Scholes void, but if any player can raise the bar, it is Wayne Rooney.
It is well known that since his days at Everton, Rooney has struggled at Goodison Park. But this past weekend Rooney showed where he is most deadly: in the middle of the park.
Playing directly behind the strikers, Rooney was allowed the freedom to spread the ball diagonally, as well as make crisp, short passes to free up space in the midfield. Behind two young and energetic forwards, Danny Welbeck, and Javier Hernandez, Rooney was allowed to free up space for Welbeck and Hernandez and cause trouble for Everton's back line.
Towards the end of the 2010-2011 season, Rooney was often deployed behind the striker in a 4-4-1-1 formation. In his new position, Rooney was allowed to create chances and had a creative license behind the attack.
With Cleverly out again, Rooney could find himself responsible for getting United back to playing free-flowing and attacking football. Now 25 years old, Rooney is entering the prime of his career and will need to make the positional switch now to benefit his career and United's season.
Rooney is constantly looking for the ball and it makes sense to get your best player on the ball whenever possible. In this new role, Rooney would have plenty of touches and be able to orchestrate United's attack.
Rooney is one of the best players in the EPL. His natural footballing ability makes him an obvious choice to fill the void left by Paul Scholes. But, will Sir Alex give him the chance to prove himself or will United spend £35 million for a replacement? Why should they when they already have one in their ranks?