Xavi believes Wayne Rooney can continue to star for Manchester United – but he may have to drop into a deeper role to do that.
The Old Trafford captain has been consistently criticised this season for his performances, with the weekend 0-0 draw with Manchester City earning more bad reviews.
Some believe it’s even time for Rooney to be dropped by boss Louis van Gaal.
But Barcelona legend Xavi believes he’s still got a lot of talent and a lot to give United.
And he insists Rooney may need to drop into a deeper position to allow another striker to lead the line for the club.
Xavi said, via the Mirror:
Personally I think Rooney still has much to offer, but maybe it’s time for him to adapt.
You get to an age and you can’t play the game you once used to, you can’t cover the ground you used to.
But intelligent players adapt and there’s no doubting Rooney has a very good footballing brain.
Maybe it’s time for a new striker at Manchester United, who can run for 90 minutes, but Rooney would be very dangerous in a deeper role.
He has the vision and the passing range to play that role very well. If he can adapt, there’s no reason why he can’t play at the top level for another five or six seasons.
But as a player you must admit to yourself your body is changing and can’t do what it used to be able to do.
It’s high praise considering Xavi is a midfield maestro and knows exactly what it takes to play in the centre of the park at the top level.
Rooney has six goals in 14 games this season without laying on any for his opponents.
But it’s his poor first touch and lack of any real attacking threat which has frustrated viewers recently.
It remains to be seen whether van Gaal will stick with his man or restore the impressive Anthony Martial to the top of the United attack instead.