The recent match against Liverpool perhaps encapsulated Rojo’s United career, solid for most of the game, able to use his physicality to win personal duels, but then switching off at a key moment and allowing the opposition to score.
Brought to the club by Louis Van Gaal, Rojo is now in his sixth season at United, and many United fans wonder how he is still at the club. He has failed to make himself a regular in a team that has been crying out for a settled centre back partnership since Sir Alex retired. However, three managers have persevered with him and perhaps that’s because they see that there is a player in there somewhere.
Most fans will remember Rojo more for the infamous burnt toast picture he posted on social media, rather than anything he has done in a United shirt. The most regularly recurring criticisms levelled at the Argentine are that he is prone to mistakes, he makes rash decisions, and is a red card waiting to happen. It’s hard to argue against these points. As United fans we watched him go through a series of games where he was regularly making two footed tackles that could have ended careers. Look up the tackle on Idrissa Gueye if you want reminding of what I mean!
But for some, me included, there is something about Rojo that makes me think he could be an important player for United. He comes from a humble background, and as is the case with many footballers from such beginnings, he has a mean streak and toughness that you only learn in the school of hard knocks. He relishes the physical side of the game and seems to hate losing, traits that are sadly missing from the current squad. He’s also the sort of player, that with his commitment and no-nonsense style, has the potential to excite and energise the rest of the team.
Personally, I believe he is a better partner for Maguire than either Lindelof or Jones, and if Solskjaer plays a back three in games, as he did against Liverpool, it should be Maguire, Tuanzebe and Rojo. If he could just remove the rashness from his game and get a run of games, he could yet make a positive contribution to the rest of this season.
A quick trawl through social media will show that there are some United fans who really love the aggression Rojo shows in games. A cult hero to some, simultaneously capable of both the sublime and the ridiculous.