Paul Merson: This should be the role given to Rooney in Liverpool clash
By Dominic Toner
Paul Merson believes that Wayne Rooney should start against Liverpool.
The Merseyside club host rivals Manchester United on Monday in a highly anticipated Premier League clash.
Rooney, 30, is currently enduring a difficult period and was named as a substitute in the latest England international, handing his captaincy over to Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson.
He has also been named on the bench in United’s last three matches and has fallen down the pecking order under manager Jose Mourinho.
Sky Sports pundit Merson feels that Ronney must start the league meeting and he could take the pressure off Paul Pogba.
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“I would play Rooney in this game, Jesse Lingard has just played two international football matches – that can be very draining,” Merson told Sky Sports. “He’s a young lad. If you put Rooney in this game it would take a lot of pressure off Pogba.
“If Rooney’s on the bench, then all eyes are on Pogba. For all that money, he hasn’t performed yet. He’s been nowhere near any good. If Manchester United lose, then he’ll come in for some big criticism.”
Rooney has made a staggering 535 appearances for United, scoring 248 goals and supplying 139 assists.
Despite his incredible contribution at Old Trafford, he has constantly been targeted by fans.
World-record signing Paul Pogba, who cost £89million in the summer, has struggled since his return to Old Trafford.
Pogba, 23, has made eight appearances this season and scored just one goal.
The central midfielder is expected to remain in the United side, with Jesse Lingaard the player who could be replaced by Rooney.
Lingaard has established himself as a first-team player and kept Rooney out of the side in recent weeks.
Mourinho could be tempted to start with the experienced Rooney for the pressure game with Liverpool.
In other Liverpool news, a Sky Sports pundit believes that this 24-year-old will decide the winner against United.