Colin M. Damms - Wayne Rooney
It’s certainly more of an argument than I’d like it to be, but Wayne Rooney’s play was undeniably breathtaking at times this decade.
It started in 2010 as he continued his best ever season at Manchester United. An ankle injury, poor World Cup, and off-field issues derailed what should have been one of the best years of his career, but he came back strong for 2011, scoring most of his 16 goals in the back half of the 2010/11 campaign, leading United to a 19th Premier League title and a berth in the UEFA Champions League Final.
Rooney hit the 30+ goal mark again in 2011/12, but the season after his prolific form in front of goal began to dwindle. First came the new role in behind Robin Van Persie, then came David Moyes, then Louis Van Gaal. The chaotic time post-Sir Alex saw Rooney play many different roles as his form continued to decline, but he still managed to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s long standing goal record to become Manchester United’s greatest ever goalscorer. He also helped United to an FA Cup, League Cup, and Europa League title, completing a full set of medals in every competition played for in his Manchester United career.
Pauly Kwestel - David de Gea
There’s only one player who’s been world class for Manchester United throughout this decade and that’s David De Gea. It says a lot about the club that it’s a goalkeeper we have to highlight, but we already knew that was the case when De Gea won four of five Sir Matt Busby Player of the Season awards.
This decade saw De Gea go from being a flimsy kid who looked so light a strong gust of wind might blow him over, to at one point the best goalkeeper in the world. In 2017/18 De Gea went from being a great goalkeeper to a super human goalkeeper, posting a historically good season. Simply put, take him out of that team, and United wouldn’t have finished in the top four in any of José Mourinho’s seasons. He did have two prolonged contract disputes with the team, and that will sour some fans, but I’ve always been of the opinion that he never really wanted to leave, and was just trying to get paid what he was worth.
Brent Maximin - Robin van Persie
Over time, Wayne Rooney will be remembered a the player that defined a generation at Manchester United. Without an ill-advised flirtation with the neighbors across town, and perhaps a less pronounced decline in his last few years, Rooney would have a statue outside Old Trafford to look forward to one day. But Rooney’s peak years were undeniably in the decade before.
No one in this recent decade can boast multiple seasons of world class form as David de Gea can. The Spaniard not only won a record number of player of the season awards, but he has also been a fixture in the first XI for every season of this last decade, bar the first. But De Gea’s decade at United has come to be characterized as kind of defiant excellence; De Gea was his most brilliant despite the general incompetence surrounding him. A shining light in the darkness. A fine choice for player of the decade, for sure, but recognizing De Gea’s achievements means accepting a dose of reality. And right now, we have enough reality; we want nostalgia.
Robin van Persie had one truly great season at United. In what turned out to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season, van Persie strutted into Old Trafford looking every inch the United Player. He had the ability, the self-belief, the swagger, the desperation to win, and just the right amount of bastard. You can make a case that no one player contributed as much to a title-winning season. United’s last title-winning team was filled with winners, but it was a team whose core was on their last legs; a team at the end of their cycle. Van Persie’s injection of world-class forward play was exactly what United were missing when he joined.
Fergie told the playmakers in his team about van Persie, “He’s gonna win you the league, if you pass him the ball.” So said, so done.
Manchester United’s Player of the Decade?
This poll is closed
David De Gea
Robin van Persie
Other (answer in comments)