It’s fair to say that Wayne Rooney has been absolutely battered by both fans and the media this season. The United and England captain has been hugely criticised for his poor performances of late, and has found himself benched for both club and country as a result. It has to be said, that the abuse Rooney has received is rather unfortunate for someone who stands as England’s most capped outfield player and highest scorer of all time. Rooney has won all there is to win at club level with United, and is just a few goals short of equalling Sir Bobby Chalton’s goal scoring record for The Red’s. In truth, Rooney has always been under the spotlight during his career and has been constantly bombarded with question marks over his ability. Have we ever given Rooney the credit he deserves? In many ways, it is embarrassing that we as a nation will criticise one of our countries most decorated players.
As Rooney nears his 31st birthday, it sends a reminder that the golden-boy who burst onto the scenes aged 16 is slowly but surely nearing the end of his glittering career. But a player in their early 30’s are by no means coming to the end of their tender, just take a look at 31-year-old Luka Modric, who just signed a new 4-year-deal at Real Madrid yesterday. The 16/17 campaign marks Rooney’s 15th season of Premier League and international football, something which is remarkable when you consider his age. Surely Rooney still has lots to give, and years left in order to give it? Well, according to the man himself, he does. Wayne has held his hands up and accepted his demotion to the bench, but plans on proving the doubters wrong and reinventing himself as a starter once again.
“I think it’s football,” Rooney said. “Obviously I’ve started through all my career, so it is a new period for me and of course I want to play. I just have to keep working and trying to get in the team and my chances will come, I know that, and it is up to me to take them.”
“I’d like to think I can play every game, but obviously it’s the manger’s decision and I respect the decision. I’ll be ready when needed. Not in my mind [do I think I’ve reached the point when I accept only getting 25 games a season]. Maybe in other people’s minds but not mine. I’m 31 next week. I’ve got a lot of football left.”
Rooney’s position has come under question this season, with Mourinho stating the No.10 would play a forward role for United – whereas former England boss Sam Alardyce stated that Rooney decides where he plays for England. As it turns out, for both club and country the captain has been deployed in both forward and midfield roles. Manchester United signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba could also explain Rooney’s downfall for his club, but the captain has backed both players, especially world-record signing Pogba.
“Paul is a fantastic player. I think he’s working hard and he’s doing well. As always, it takes time to settle. I think he is a fantastic player and he will shine for us this season, there is no doubt.” he said.
United face Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday, and it is widely expected that Rooney will start the match. It will be a golden opportunity for Rooney to prove his worth in the side if he does indeed start, but regardless, isn’t it time to give the captain a break? Support our man and give him credit where it’s due.
[Quotes via Sky Sports]