Like many of you probably, I've been wondering how Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson would deploy the trio of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, and Shinji Kagawa in the opening weeks of the season. Since Cristiano Ronaldo's departure from Old Trafford, Rooney has been the clear talisman at the club and this has also been further exemplified by his alpha dog wages after his infamous request to leave the club in the autumn of 2010. For the run-in of the 2010/11 season, and during the opening half of the 2011/12 season, Wazza was a genuine world-class player as United's No. 10. However, despite his goalscoring record, his form has certainly dipped in 2012. With the summer signings of Kagawa and van Persie, I wasn't quite sure how Fergie would handle this possibly delicate situation. Who would be the No.10? Who would be the No.9? Who might get pushed out wide in a first-choice lineup? The great manager certainly made a statement though when he dropped Rooney versus Fulham and played van Persie as his No.9 and Kagawa as his No.10. With Rooney's horrific leg gash though, the murky situation has certainly become clear for the upcoming weeks and that might be a good thing.
Squad depth, with the obvious exception of our dire central-defense injury situation, is not much of an issue at this point of the season. United only have one match a week right now without having the worries of domestic cup ties or European nights. In addition, there's even an international break coming up in early September. Therefore, it's difficult to find playing time for everyone at the moment -- especially for a squad as talented and deep as United's. This is an ideal time to acclimate Kagawa and van Persie into the club and it's not a terrible time for Rooney to miss around four weeks due to his leg gash.
Kagawa, who has been impressive in the pre-season and during the club's opening two weekends, will continue to operate as the No.10 in our somewhat new 4-2-3-1/4-2-1-3 system. van Persie, who admitted after the Fulham match that fitness is a slight concern, will have the opportunity the establish himself as the club's clear first-choice No.9. And if fitness is an issue for him, then United certainly have excellent options in Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez (Chichartio) -- and even Dimitar Berbatov if he's not sold in the upcoming days -- as cover. Quite honestly, and when considering squad rotation doesn't exist at this point of the season, this isn't the worst time for Rooney to miss out because of injury.
If we really think about it, it's somewhat amazing that Rooney could go down -- despite his poor form in the past half-year or so -- and that we aren't too worried. It wasn't too long ago where there was concern whether United were too reliant on Wazza.
Wayne, get better and while you're out, there's a good chance we'll be just fine with the simple and talented Kagawa as the No.10 and the sublime van Persie as our No.9. If this makes you upset perhaps, that might not be a bad thing. You looked like you lacked adequate fitness and sharpness when the season began -- come back hungry and in a fighting spirit so that you can earn your spot again. For me personally, I was very pleased that Fergie wasn't afraid to drop Wazza versus Fulham on Saturday. As long as this isn't a chemistry distraction in the dressing room, United will be better off for it.