Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney scored the winning goal for Manchester United against Swansea. Getty Images

Jamie Carragher thinks Wayne Rooney is performing like "a 35-year-old player" due to his early introduction to Premier League life. The former Liverpool defender thinks Rooney's body is more akin to that of a player in his mid-30s, because he has been playing professionally for so long.

Rooney, now 30, made his debut for Everton when he was just 16. And while he has enjoyed a record-breaking career, Rooney has struggled to maintain his high standards this season, scoring just eight goals for Manchester United.

Carragher told Sky Sports: "People talk about age, it's miles on the clock and it's games played. He must have played nearly 600 games as a centre-forward, which is maybe not the same as playing in the position I did.

"I just think that battering from centre-backs and the pressure that is on him, mentally as well, to play from that age of 16, I think we are looking at a player who is getting to the stage of his career where I don't think he will be playing at the top level at 34-35.

"I just think he's been playing so long now that maybe it's 30 on his birth certificate but in terms of games played he's a 35-year-old player."

Rooney scored the winning goal in United's narrow win against Swansea on January 2, but Carragher thinks he needs to find some consistency if he is to get the critics off his back.

Reflecting on the United man's recent form, Carragher said: "I think for Rooney to answer his critics or show he is still the man to play centre forward for Manchester United he maybe needs a run of 10 games – scoring maybe seven or eight goals."