Manchester United legend Paul Scholes recently stated in an interview that anybody would slump under Van Gaal’s tactics.
This is big news considering in his time Scholes made 499 league appearances for United and scored over 100 goals as a midfielder. Scholes pulled in Premier League trophies in the double digits with United (11) over the course of his career, and is often considered to be one of the greatest midfielders of all time.
So why does Scholes blame Van Gaal for Rooney’s slump?
“It’s a team you wouldn’t want to play against and it’s probably a team you wouldn’t want to play in either,” he told BBC Radio Manchester during an interview.
“There’s a lack of risk and creativity. It seems he [Van Gaal] doesn’t want players to beat men, there’s a lack of risk and creativity. It seems he doesn’t want players to beat men and score goals – it’s not a team I would have enjoyed playing in.”
Is there any merit to Scholes claims?
Well, yes and no. Manchester United have had a 2015 season punctuated by highs and lows. The lows coming in the form of bad losses before both International break periods. One of the highs is record signing Anthony Martial, who has shown that at 19 (and for 36 million pounds) he can be a force to be reckoned with in the Premier League.
But with all of Martial’s success United have become arguably stagnant and one dimensional. Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay, and Wayne Rooney have less than five goals combined for 2015.
Scholes believes that Rooney’s lack of production is only time and place rather than a testament to the talent or caliber of the 30 year-old captain.
“Ruud van Nistelrooy, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole, they couldn’t play in this team.”
“You don’t get crosses in the box, midfielders looking for runs. I think it’s a very difficult team to be a centre forward in.”
United have drawn twice now, once with league leaders Manchester City and most recently with Middlesbrough in a Captial One Cup round of 16 match-up.
United lost the match in penalty shoot-outs where noticeably Rooney failed to convert his penalty kick. Glaringly, United’s strikers seemed to shoot exclusively to right which keeper Dimitrios ‘Dimi’ Konstantopoulos had been favoring all night.
Scholes finished his interview with BBC radio admitting,
“I actually think the team is brilliantly coached to defend. I think the hardest thing to do is to coach scoring goals, creativity and to have players who are off the cuff.”
Van Gaal will need to inspire the creativity of his forwards if he wants to hold his team’s place at the top of the table and win the league.