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Wayne Rooney in midfield increases the Manchester United goal threat, says Gary Pallister

The former defender thinks it's that improved eye for goal that can help Manchester United beat Crystal Palace this weekend 

Simon Rice@simonrice
Friday 20 May 2016 09:31
Wayne Rooney in training with Manchester United ahead of the FA Cup final
Wayne Rooney in training with Manchester United ahead of the FA Cup final

Deploying Wayne Rooney in midfield boosts Manchester United's goal threat according to Gary Pallister, and it could make the difference in the Emirates FA Cup final.

Manchester United captain Rooney has found himself playing in a deeper role during the latter stages of the season and with strikers Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in good form it's likely he'll start there against Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Despite positioning Rooney further away from goal, former Red Devil Pallister explains why it can actually boost Manchester United's overall goal threat.

"I think he's played well there (in midfield). We know he's got an eye for goal, I don't think he's ever going to lose that," Pallister told the Independent.

"We've maybe not got a lot of midfielder's with that eye for goal so for him to be in the middle of the park I think (in the search for goals) that's going to add to it."

Of Manchester United's specialist midfielder's Juan Mata is the top scorer with 6 Premier League goals. The return from the others in the league this season has been pitiful with Memphis Depay on 2, Ander Herrera with 3, Jesse Lingard with 4 and no other player scoring more than one goal.

Pallister, who won three FA Cups during his time at Old Trafford, thinks that his side's improving eye for goal should give them the edge at Wembley.

"We look as though we've got a bit more of a goal threat at the moment. Hopefully that will carry through into the game against Palace," said Pallister.

"I think defensively we've been very sound but it's in that creative department that we've struggled. But I think with the introduction of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard and a bit of pace up front and Anthony Martial coming in on the left - looking a real threat - I think we've got the look of goals again in the team. I think if we hit our stride on the day that's going to be difficult for Palace to deal with."

Gary Pallister with the Emirates FA Cup trophy, which he won three times during his career

One of Pallister's FA Cup wins was in 1990 when Manchester United needed a replay against Crystal Palace after drawing 3-3 at the first attempt. United eventually prevailed 1-0 but the former defender warns it could be equally tough for Louis van Gaal's side.

"I think it's going to be a tough game. I remember when everyone expected us to win the FA Cup comfortably and it went to a replay and it was very much a hard fought game. I expect a pretty similar match."

Gary Pallister was speaking at the launch of an Emirates competition for children to win a chance to walk out onto the pitch as an Emirates FA Cup Final mascot. Log onto to find out more.

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