Wayne Rooney was the golden boy, the one who would finally win England the World Cup. That was the dream anyway.Paul Scholes criticised Jack Wilshere for not improving from when he was a 16 year old. The exact same argument could be made about Rooney. Now I must say I’ve never been a massive of Rooney I’ve always thought him to be grossly overrated even in his earlier days.
Make no mistake, Rooney is a top class player, but is he really world class as many would have you believe? We are continuously told by pundits and the media that England’s only hope of winning the World Cup is by playing Wayne Rooney, despite the fact he’s never actually scored in one yet.
This makes it almost unthinkable for any England manager not to play Wayne Rooney not because of his actual talent but because of the outrage back home if England were to lose and Rooney didn’t start.
When playing for England, Rooney normally plays the number 10 role; one that is crucial in linking the midfield & attack. All too often we see Rooney receive the ball only to lose it. Of course that’s not always his fault, as he nearly always has three men marking him. But that’s just the problem. Everything England do has to come through Wayne Rooney, meaning that all the opponents have to do is mark Rooney out of the game and suddenly you’ve stopped England playing.
We saw in the friendly against Ecuador in which Rooney played on the left wing, England can have far better flow and understanding in the team when Rooney is not at the centre of play. Playing youngsters such as Barkley and Chamberlain give England a new lease of life. England actually seemed dangerous going forward; somewhat exciting instead of stagnant which is too often the case when Rooney is the main focus of attack.
The case will be made for playing Rooney as a wide man, but what’s the point of playing him as a wide man. When England have exiting young talents in Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it seems England are so desperate to fit Rooney in the team they forget what’s actually best for the team. Personally I find the idea of a fresh Rooney coming on off the bench in the 70th or 80th minute against tired defenders a far better idea.
Ultimately though, if you were to look at Rooney’s highlights during his international tournaments you’d probably find lots of arm flapping, angry faces, and shouting at team-mates because he once again gave the ball away.
The harsh truth is that he isn’t as good as many claim. We made excuses for his poor performances back in 2010, we then made excuses for him in the Euros and sadly, I suspect we’ll be doing the exact same again this time round when he fails to deliver.