Wayne Rooney’s absence from the Manchester United side makes them much less likely to win a game, according to stats from the past four years.
Rooney was left out of the squad for the Europa League match away against Feyenoord, which ended in a 1-0 defeat for Jose Mourinho’s men. It was the first time that the United captain (who needs just four goals to beat Sir Bobby Charlton’s club record of 249 ) has not been on the field this season.
But, since 2012-13, United’s win percentage with Rooney in the side is more than 10 percent higher than without him. Their goals per game ratio is also higher at 1.8 per game rather than 1.6.
In the last four years, United have played 160 games with Rooney in the side in all competitions, winning 95 (59 percent of games.)
They have played 58 games without him in all competitions in that period, winning 28 (48 percent of games.) The forward made his United debut in 2004, with the most prolific season being in 2011-12 as he struck 34 goals in 43 appearances in all competitions.
But he was troubled by injury problems in the 2012-13 season — Sir Alex Ferguson’s last in charge — with Dutch striker Robin van Persie also arriving.
Since that campaign, he has not reached 20 goals in any season, while his position on the pitch has been the subject of much debate under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and now Jose Mourinho.
Arguments have raged about whether he is suited to the No. 10 role and if United would be better off replacing him or changing their formation.
Thursday’s game, when United played without him in a 4-3-3 formation, showed that the alternatives are not always more fruitful. One thing is clear: wherever Rooney plays, United win more when he is on the pitch.