Rooney And RVP – A Potential Lethal Partnership Together

The modern world of football has seen many lethal partnerships* at the front over past decade in English Premier League (EPL) with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp – Thierry Henry (Arsenal), Andy Cole – Peter Bardsley (Newcastle UTD), Michael Owen-Emile Heskey (yes, they scored 105 goals between them for Liverpool), Stan Collymore-Robbie Fowler (Liverpool), Andy Cole-Dwight Yorke (Manchester UTD), Cristiano Ronaldo-Wayne Rooney(Manchester UTD) & recently the plethora of strike options that Manchester CITY have recruited with Sergio Aguero-Carlos Tevez-Mario Balotelli. This year was no reason to feel different, because the football pundits and fans all over the world got a chance to debate on another possible & new strike force that has the potential of being as Lethal as the others have been over the years – Wayne Rooney & Robin Van Persie.

If we ask any person about what the essential qualities are of building such a consistent, lethal & immense partnerships in any game, the answer would be this – being selfless, having immense skills, understanding each other’s game well, working for the team’s cause. But football as a game has one more skill that is required to forge an effective strike force – that’s “being at the right place at the right time”. This natural instinct evades many football players that a consistent partnership has been hard to find especially in a league which is considered to be the world’s toughest & physically demanding league. So what are the skills that Rooney and RVP have that could be used to create another history for both Manchester UTD & EPL as a whole? Let us look at the individual skills first.


Having been bought by Arsenal at 2004 as a long term replacement for Dennis Bergkamp, RVP was trained to being played as a Centre Forward from left midfielder by his former coach Arsene Wenger. This was just the versatility that coaches like Arsene Wenger (or) Sir Alex Ferguson require their main men to have to be touted as more than successful enough. Having started out as a left winger, RVP had immense dribbling skills during his initial years. His shooting technique is one of the most sought after in the world currently, especially when the ball falls on his left foot, there can’t be any stopping him from scoring. We have seen this 30 times over the course of the last season that his finishing from left foot was world class.

Vision in football is very important they say & this guy proved that in addition to having shooting & dribbling techniques, he had very good vision for setting up the goals. He provided 11 assists in 2008-09 season & scored as many as 20 goals for the season that won him the Arsenal player of the year. From last season, which would have been a disaster for Arsenal if not for RVP’s goals, we saw another side of him in the form of his team work & putting team in front. Many a time last season, we saw him operating & defending for the team when many strikers in the world wouldn’t do, especially when they are in such immaculate form. That showed us his down to earth personality putting team in front.

And no wonder Manchester UTD after a long struggle, got their main target of the season for as many reasons as possible – one is to get the goals from the finished & proven product at international level, two – to create a partnership that would on paper be the most looked forward with Wayne Rooney having scored around 60 goals between them last season for their respective clubs. If there’s anything to judge RVP at Manchester UTD now, then all the above qualities that I have mentioned that he possessed as being a gunner, is certainly evident from the first two months of the season – we have seen RVP being the major source of goals this season, which has prompted the Arsenal fans to call Manchester UTD now as a one man team. We have seen a thunderous header against Southampton that was world class vision & positioning, we have seen RVP defending & working for the team against Newcastle & setting up goals along the way as well. So vision, dribbling skills, shooting skills, working for the team is the essence & asset of RVP that any team can dream of having, If only he stays free of injuries.


Having joined Manchester UTD as a young 19 year old after a blistering & bright start to the career his career at Everton, Rooney was everyone’s choice from England to be the next star. He has indeed proved this at Manchester UTD & England that has won him the England Player of the year twice in 2008 and 2009. What are the skills does Rooney possess that is considered a boon to the team. Everyone remembers the famous curler that he scored against Arsenal as a 17year old that brought Arsenal’s unbeaten run to an end. He notched up a hat-trick & an assist on his debut to prove that his shooting skills were one of the best in the business. Rooney was one among a very few players who consistently notched up the double digit mark in the league over each of the five seasons from 2004-2009, proving that he’s indeed one of the best shooters of the game. Having been under the shadows of the great striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy until 2007 & further under the shadows of his best friend Cristiano Ronaldo, his goal scoring tally was never above the 25 goal mark per season until Cristiano Ronaldo decided to move to Real Madrid.

2009-10 season marked the first full season where we would see Wayne Rooney operating as the main striker & that proved to be the most epic season for him as he scored 34 times in all competitions that won him the PFA Player of the year award. And when nothing works well in front of the goal for him, he uses his other talent in being the team man & working for the team by helping UTD out in the defense, tackling in mid-field to set up the goals with such vision for his team mates, which probably he has developed along the way having played with the legendary Paul Scholes. His free kicks are one of the best in the business as everyone who witnessed that 8-2 mauling of Arsenal last season would agree upon. His team work, his vision, his attitude in going and winning the ball back after losing the ball, his shooting abilities which was once again proved last season when he scored 35 times are some of the assets that any team would love to have.

When the season begun this season for Manchester UTD, everyone thought that it was the end of Rooney since Sir Alex decided to play their new man RVP as the lone striker by putting Rooney on the bench. And many a fan indeed believed this hypothesis when Rooney was badly gashed. But history always says a different story & this is what we had to witness as until now.

Rooney-RVP combination:

Everyone had to wait for almost 10 games into the season to find this strike partnership playing together. It was probably the desperateness & the reason that UTD were not performing up to the mark convinced Sir Alex to try these together playing for the same team – a footballing fan & indeed a Manchester UTD fan’s dream. The partnership was tried against a mere Romanian team called Cluj who indeed tested UTD out to the maximum. That is when this pair rose to the occasion. Rooney providing a world class pass from about 40 yards from the goal that was meted out superbly by the left foot of RVP & allowing it to roll it towards the goal. The pass was such one of a kind that even Xavi, Scholes would have been proud of Rooney’s pass. It was World class vision. The finish was immaculate & so delicate that the ability of the RVP to be at the right place at the right time was tested & he came out with flying colors.

Next match against Newcastle, the same duo started together allowing us to analyze what could be the beginning of a worthy & developing partnership. RVP & Rooney worked such hard for the team against a hapless Newcastle defense, tackled successfully in the midfield (yes RVP even got booked for a rare tackle), both were at the heart of UTD’s defense clearing away threatening balls, Rooney taking free kicks (which brought out a save from harper, that lead to UTD’s 2nd goal), RVP putting in brilliant corner(that got the lead for UTD), the vision of Rooney & RVP to set up goals for their team mates (RVP’s through pass to Kagawa against Spurs that got them the 2nd goal) & not to forget they still have the immense & deadly shooting ability to their armory which can be unloaded anytime.

They still haven’t played much together to being called & judged as successful yet. As seen from the past, there needs to be one among any duo who would be the striker to set up & work for the team while the other keeps scoring (like Owen-Heskey, Bergkamp-Henry, Rooney-Ronaldo .etc). In this case, it seems so Sir Alex is all but set to make Rooney versatile by giving RVP the role of a sole Striker thereby asking Rooney to once again begin his kind-of partnership he had while Ronaldo was there. But this duo looks set to work for each other as well as for the team, bringing about an air of excitement, spark & promise with the two matches they have played together. If what the current scenarios are showing out to us, the versatility of playing different positions by them both, their immaculate finishing & visionary powers, dribbling & free kick ability, left-right foot combination, their thumping headers & the most important quality that legendary footballers have inherited – having that sixth sense of being at the right place at the right time. These are some reasons that makes me think – that another lethal partnership is in the forming & they can indeed play together for Manchester UTD & that’s what the fans need as well.


(Note: * The article is written by considering partnerships that has lasted long, while there may still be many other partnerships that were lethal but just lasted for a season & faded away.)

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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