Man Utd found their new Wayne Rooney for Erik ten Hag ahead of Carabao Cup final
Manchester United could have an exciting prospect on their hands before they face Newcastle.
Manchester United have been told that within Erik ten Hag’s squad, they have a player with similar traits to Wayne Rooney during his hugely successful period at the club. The Red Devils edged past Barcelona on Thursday in the Europa League to face Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final as the Dutch manager aims to win his first cup since moving to Old Trafford in the summer.
United are the only English side to remain in all four competitions and have been partly led by Bruno Fernandes, who has captained the side on several occasions this season when club captain Harry Maguire has been away from the pitch.
Former United striker Robin van Persie returned to the club this week and drew a moving comparison to Fernandes following their 2-1 win over Barcelona. “It also shows that Fernandes plays on the wing and great players do that for the team,” Van Persie told BT Sport.
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“Rooney has also done this in his time many times on the ward. It’s like when you’re a great player, you’re a team player. When the team needs you on the wing, he does it.”
Fernandes has played on the right flank in recent weeks to allow Wout Weghorst, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford to sometimes operate in central areas. However, Ten Hag changed the game against Barcelona by moving the Portuguese star into his favorite number 10 position, taking Antony off the bench to play on the right with Sancho on the left and Rashford up front.
United icon Paul Scholes, on panel with Van Persie on Thursday, agreed with the former striker over the comparison between Fernandes and Rooney and highlighted the “sacrifice” the former England captain has made to help the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo during his time at the club.
“In the first half [against Barcelona] I don’t think it worked very well,” added Scholes. “We know Bruno will sacrifice to play there. Sancho was playing in a slightly different position – OK, he came on Sunday and did well there – but he’s not comfortable there, he wants to be in wider spaces.
“Sacrifice is everything in these big games. You mentiooooooooooooooned Wayne Rooney. He’s done that so many times to accommodate Cristiano Ronaldo and just bring that anticipation and quality to the team that Bruno has, wherever he plays in the team he’s able to create a goal.”
Whether Ten Hag will continue to use Fernandes remains to be seen, but the 28-year-old’s willingness to sacrifice in a similar way to Rooney will only prove to the Dutch manager that he is captain at Old Trafford.