United have gone through a difficult run of form during the last few matches and one of the players who has been widely criticised for not performing to his best is captain Rooney.
Many believe that Rooney should now be dropped for the upcoming matches due to his poor displays but Atkinson has stated his belief that the 30-year-old will be able to get back into his groove if he is deployed in a more advanced role rather than in the middle of the park.
Atkinson told talkSPORT: "I think Rooney can play anywhere.
"He's not at the top of the range at the moment, but the commodity he's got - and it's the hardest thing in football – he can score a goal.
"I would have him playing somewhere within range of the opposition goal as much as possible. He can drop out, he spent a long time there last year playing as the central midfield player spraying the ball about - he can do that.
"I think in a year or two's time – if he wanted to – he could play centre-half. He's a football player. But at the moment, they've got to get him back to the form where he's can score goals.
"He's England's leading scorer, he will break United's record, but you don't want players like that 50-yards from the opposition's goal."