There was a time when the name of Wayne Rooney was taken with the best in the world, the same breath as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. While he is still feared, as many of you may have read all over the internet, articles, magazines, newspapers that Wayne Rooney is past it and people are calling for his head for the England football team.
What is against him?
For starters, Paul Scholes has certainly started giving his opinions recently and has said that ‘Wazza’ maybe past his peak already and he is good enough to thrive in a deeper midfield position. If I am allowed to give my 2 penny thoughts here, it is that as it is usually seen when Robin van Persie is injured, Wayne thrives playing forward and scores and honestly, he lacks the touch and possession keeping ability of a midfielder required at Manchester United. This is where the irony comes into play, he likes to fall back and his presence would grace any team, yet he is poor and has been recently. His displays are mounted up top because of the low quality Manchester United squad he has participated with, no offense there to the United fans ( I am one too ). When he falls back, he negates his striker influence and his performances degrade with frustration and hence we are where we are now. He has lost a yard of speed he had as a youngster when he burst onto the scene with Everton in 2002. His body is bulking and it bulks up quite while is injured thus taking him few games to recover from injuries and coming back into form.
The thing is, that the world specially the over-enthusiastic British media has put so much pressure on him along with the fans who demand so much from him, that his little mistakes have made him question himself. He has yet to score at a World Cup and has always come injured into these tournaments, and always has been slated for his England performances. He is the next big thing to happen to England after Paul Gascoigne in terms of pure footballing ability and that has taken its toll. Something that I think that has calmed Rooney down, is his mellowing down. Wayne Rooney oozes passion and anger. That is what has defined him since the start of his career. He never cared about who was on the other side, he went it, did what he wanted to, and come out on top. He lost that edge with his calming down. That has certainly harmed him. David Moyes, knew Wayne Rooney too well and even pointed this out and Rooney got some of his mojo back for Manchester United in the previous season though he still basically sucked and only stood out because of United’s piss poor performances.
What does he have going for him?
The first and foremost thing is that he is Wayne Rooney and while everyone can say what they might, he doesn’t lack commitment and that is always a given when he is playing and he might give you that edge to drag you on. His technical ability is not second to many as can be seen in those Scholes-esque passes for United. He still provides those magical moments in a match as any United fan would know. He can thrive on the pressure this year and out do all his past ineffective international tournaments sadly it might be short-lived with Uruguay and Italy awaiting them. If you have Rooney playing, you might just have 2 players at the minimum marking him which releases other players in the game. He would be the team player and would make use of the ball.
Barkley is the next Rooney. Well, one might say that Rooney didn’t fulfill his potential which might be true and one would hope for England’s cause that Barkley does, but still Barkley can be used along with Rooney to provide absolute carnage and power to the England game. He is still capable of scoring abosulte world class goals along with those bulleting screamers that rip the net apart so it is hardly fair to put so much pressure on him. The other side of the coin is that everyone puts so much pressure on him because they know how good he is which is still true.
The final verdict
It is clear that Rooney is still nothing short of world class on his day but to suggest that England might actually do better without him and putting Sterling on, is absurd. This decision comes down upon Roy Hodgson who has to decide this tactically and not based on media. While Sterling provides you that directness and pace which is needed to England’s game, but he is still inexperienced and using him intelligently would be the best use of him. Sturrdige would be England’s main man and along with Rooney, England’s formation becomes very flexible which is good. Welbeck, Rooney, Barkley , Sterling and veen Chamberlain should be used tactically and in a smart manner by the England manager cause they would tweak the typical shoddy England system that has existed. With the midfield of Henderson, Lallana, Gerrard, they would need a cover with Rooney/Barkley cause Lallana can’t complete a game past 70 minutes mostly. So it is all down to tactics and it is appalling to see some of the pundits shunning Wazza out of the England set-up. The thing to note is that it is not Rooney who is the England hot-shot. It is Daniel Sturridge, he has power, pace and can finish. But still he is no Wayne Rooney. The game should go through him, hopefully his awful first touch can get better by then cause he will be needed by England unlike what many of you, ahem ‘pundits’ would like to believe. While I appreciate the Squawka stats writers post in their articles of late, I wanted this to be purely writing based and not bogged by stats. It is about time the Rooney obsession ends to we can see England flourish and hopefully get out of the group stage.
Good luck to England for the World Cup. They need it in heaps!