Wayne Rooney now appears overweight and faces a battle to prove he has a future at Manchester United, according to former Red Devils defender Paul Parker.
United captain Rooney, 30, started both the Community Shield and Premier League opener, with Jose Mourinho using the England international in a position behind striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
However, there have been concerns about his form for some time and he could find his place under threat from record signing Paul Pogba, who is now available after suspension, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has so far been utilised from the bench.
“This is a defining season for Rooney,” Parker, who played for Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side from 1991 to 1996, told 888.com.
“It’s no longer about him breaking records but finishing his career at Manchester United. He needs to show his worth and that he deserves to be in the team and not just because of marketing.
“As much as people appreciate what he’s done over the years and how many goals he’s scored, football is about now and being judged on now.”
If someone had only heard of Wayne Rooney but seen him now Parker said they’d think, “Who is this fella? He’s overweight and slow.”
Jose Mourinho has started Wayne Rooney against both Leicester and Bournemouth.
On France international Pogba, who can play in a number of midfield roles, he said: “If he plays behind Ibrahimovic that puts Wayne Rooney in doubt and Rooney has to play – not that he deserves a place, but they have to play him, so it’s a difficult situation.”
He added: “Pogba can get forward, and score goals, and pass the ball but in a high-tempo game, he won’t be very good in a deep role. We saw that in the Euros where he looked lost for long periods of games when France didn’t have the ball. So when United don’t have the ball what’s he going to be like?”
Parker also expressed concern about the state of United’s squad, saying they still need a forward, centre-back and midfielder to compete at the top of the Premier League.