clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Manchester United squad preview: Forwards

How will Adnan Januzaj, James Wilson and Wayne Rooney get on for Manchester United this season? We preview United's striking options.

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United are lacking in attack, there's no way to deny it. They are short in quality, and relying on only one senior striker. This weakness is slightly mitigated by the possibility of playing Memphis Depay and, if he joins, Pedro in a central role, but neither has the height or presence to lead the forward line in a way that Wayne Rooney can. To go into a season with only Rooney as a traditional, established striker, is a great risk, and there's a chance that United could yet add another to the selection. For now, this is what United will probably face Tottenham Hotspur with:

Adnan Januzaj

Januzaj started his career for United on the wings with David Moyes (after a brief feature with Alex Ferguson's final match), and in the turgid dignity rot that was 2013/14, his carefree interventions with important goals and flair on the right, he sparkled. The following season, adhering to the stringent tedium prescribed by Louis van Gaal, his form was not at the same level, though he didn't throw a strop. This summer, he took a personal trainer on holiday with him, with the aim of bulking up and coming back with a head start on his colleagues. His goal against Barcelona will have cheered him up, but it's worth noting that he played as a striker. With his height and pace, if he continues to add muscle to his frame, he can clearly make a success in the middle of the pitch. The truth is, though, that such strength is still a year away, and he may yet benefit from a season on loan elsewhere. That depends on United doing their job in the transfer market - by no means guaranteed.

James Wilson

When Januzaj started at centre forward against Barcelona, he was joined by fellow substitute Wilson, except the striker was playing on the left wing. He caused trouble with his pace, and he appeared to be capable of performing as required on the wings of a front three, but given his aptitude for finishing above other abilities - going on his rare first-team performances so far - it would be a waste if he was sidelined to the wings or bench for another season. Unless, of course, Van Gaal and Ryan Giggs have seen a talent (or lack of it) that we have yet to discover. Like Januzaj, the sense is that he could yet benefit from regular games elsewhere, but with such small provision in the squad for the striker position, United cannot risk a loan away yet.

Wayne Rooney

The only proper striker United have, after getting rid of the mardy Robin van Persie and the apparently bust Radamel Falcao. United will probably not miss those two, such was their pitiful contributions, but it nevertheless increases the focus and pressure on Rooney to delivery. Cynically, he suggested he was a number 10 at the start of last season when he realised he had competition, only to prove that he was not able in that position or further back in midfield, as is suggested by bozos. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin have taken the problem of versatility away from him - he should now only be asked to play as a striker and nothing else. As a result of his diminishing returns, and the diminishing returns of the team, this is a crucial season for him. Basically, it's his last chance to show whether he's really still an excellent player, or if he'll never get back to his peak. In all likelihood, he's never coming back, but with an effective United midfield and two strong wingers either side of him, he should expect to score above 20 goals this season without breaking a sweat (lucky for him), but will he change games as he used to?