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'With Or Without You' - How Man Utd Could Lineup With And Without Wayne Rooney

'With Or Without You' - How Man Utd Could Lineup With And Without Wayne Rooney
By Mikey Traynor

It's quite clear that something needs to change for Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, as after three defeats in a week a team that appeared to be getting the club back to where they want to be has been exposed and exploited.

There are problems in many departments, but none more alarming than the issue of Wayne Rooney.

While you'll get the likes of Phil Neville coming onto Sky Sports and saying things like "Wayne Rooney must play if he's fit", the reality is that no player is bigger than the club, and certainly not a player who is struggling as badly as United's captain has been.

By now you may have seen the "highlights" video that is doing the rounds after his performance against Watford, but if not...

The scary thing for Man United fans is that the above is not out of the norm. Rooney's touch and basic passing have been off the boil since pre-season, and despite a few moments of brilliance such as the assist away to Hull (although let's remember it was Ahmed Elmohamady that he beat 1v1, hardly the best defender around) he has been awkward, for lack of a better word, for most of his time of the pitch.

He is not undroppable, Jose Mourinho simply needs to either find a system that works without Rooney in it, or find one that works with the club's all-time leading scorer.

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Here are a number of formations and lineups, both with or without Wayne Rooney, that Mourinho could try as it is clear that 4-2-3-1 with Rooney in the hole and Pogba in one of the deep midfield slots is a disaster.

4-2-3-1 with Rooney

Pogba dropped, Rooney as second striker, Carrick/Blind and Herrera sitting.

If Jose does agree with Phil Neville, and can't drop Wayne Rooney, then Paul Pogba has to go. With Michael Carrick or Daley Blind must come in to support Ander Herrera, who deserves his place in the side based on what he has shown when given a chance.

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Mkhitaryan could also come in for Martial who has been misfiring, but Pogba won't be best pleased.

4-2-3-1 without Rooney

Pogba given free role, defense looked after.

This would encourage Pogba to get forward more, and would certainly solve the problem of midfield runners arriving late which ruined United against Watford, but this would need all four attacking players to be right on their game.

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4-3-3 with Rooney

Pogba dropped, Rooney forced to dictate from deep.

There is a school of thought that now see Wayne Rooney as a midfielder, and in this case he would be free to spead his Paul Scholes diagonals as much as he would like. With Carrick sitting at all time and starting attacks, it could free up Rooney and Herrera to find space between the lines.

4-3-3 without Rooney

Pogba in best position, Martial/Mkhitaryan and Rashford given bigger roles.

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Arguably the strongest looking team on paper, this is where Pogba has played his best football for Juventus and France in recent times. This formation would ask more of Anthony Martial in particular as width would become vital to any team success.

Wildcard: 4-1-2-1-2 with Rooney and Pogba

Both Pogba and Rooney start and given freedom to attack, no width.

One out of left-field, if Jose simply must play Rooney and Pogba, then width must be sacrificed to accomdate them both being allowed to attack while Carrick and Herrera keep guard. If Shaw and Valencia were to bomb on then this formation could be a winner, but against bigger teams they would be vulnerable to the counter.

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There are options available, both with and without Rooney, but you do feel that if Mourinho doesn't change it up then it's going to be another long season for Manchester United fans.

SEE ALSO: Paul Scholes - 'The Quality Is As Poor As You Will Ever See From A Manchester United Team'

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