Since the days of the angry and malicious teenager who was frowned upon due to his poor discipline to being made the Manchester United and England captain, at the age of 29 has Wayne Rooney matured too much?
It may seem ridiculous criticising a player for being too mature, especially when he’s the captain of his club and country, but does acting like a role model ruin the free scoring Rooney that the world has known for many years? Since the grand honour of captaincy has been awarded to Wayne, his days of reckless challenges and attitude has slowly washed away and replaced with one that young children can look up to but it isn’t being a role model that contributes to titles, it’s goals. Although not far from thirty years old, Wayne is still a very quick player and still has the ability to beat any defender in world football so pace is certainly not the thing missing from his game in 2015. It’s the hunger, the determination in his eyes when he looses the ball, he doesn’t want anyone to remember that after the game, but instead his attitude to win the ball back. The captaincy in my opinion has changed his game whether Wayne admits it or not, if he made a bad challenge he would have been criticised but as the captain of Manchester United and England nowadays the press will not let him live it down. Wayne was so hungry he even turned on his best friend in Cristiano Ronaldo after the famous win, that’s the Rooney we need to see again, the man that will knock down everyone in his way to score a goal.
To explain my point, in 2007-2008 title winning season, Wayne missed ten games but still finished the season with 18 goals in all competitions, that’s incredible after missing 900 minutes of football in his most injury prone season with United. Now fast forward six years to July 2014 after the departure on Nemanja Vidic, Wayne was announced club captain at United and after playing most games in the season Rooney finished the campaign as the reds leading goal scorer with 14 goals, four less than in 2008. This turned out to be the lowest by a leading scorer since 1982. That’s four less goals than a season where he missed 10 games through injury and whether that boils down to age or the pressure of captaincy it certainly shows evidence for my point that after being announced captain, the goals and hunger have dropped from his game.
Wayne is and will forever be a Manchester United and England legend and a player that I admire, so I am not harshly criticising him because you also have to take in that van Gaal’s philosophy of passing may not fit and out and out striker, but one thing that you cannot deny is the Rooney we are watching now isn’t as hungry as the one in the Sir Alex Ferguson era.