Manchester United’s English striker Wayne Rooney (L) is challenged by Manchester City’s Belgian defender Vincent Kompany during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Manchester City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on October 25, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS
AL Sadd midfielder Xavi has advised Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney to reinvent himself from a striker to a midfielder if he wants to prolong his career.
The England captain has come under loads if criticisms after failing to impress this season, scoring just twice in nine Premier League appearances.
However, the former Barcelona star believes that it is time for the 30-year-old to play a deeper role for the Old Trafford side.
“Personally I think Rooney still has much to offer, but maybe it’s time for him to adapt,” Xavi said.
“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.”
Xavi knows Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal very well as he played under the Dutchman during his career at Barcelona and warned Rooney that the former Bayern Munich manager can be ruthless no matter how big of a name you are.
“Wayne Rooney is a player I have admired for a long time,” the Spaniard added. “He is an extraordinary player with extraordinary capabilities.
“Van Gaal does not respect names though. It doesn’t matter if you are the best player in the world, if he wants to drop you from the team, then he will drop you from the team.
“I respect and like Van Gaal because he is honest and direct, and I like to deal with people like that, but it can be hard to listen to his harsh criticism at times. But if you do, it will ultimately improve you.”
Manchester United takes on Middlesbrough tonight in the fourth round of the Capital One Cup.