As statements go, Wayne Rooney’s performance under Aston Villa’s Friday night lights, said everything. Blowing hard by the end, in Manchester United’s second successive 1-0 victory, the Scouser looked far from match sharp. In truth the game passed Rooney by: second best to every ball, rarely involved in the visitors’ limp attack and one-paced when in possession. It was one of the former Evertonian’s very worst performances in Red.
Rooney’s nondescript contribution in the Midlands might pass with little comment had it been a one-off, but the Scouser has looked off-the-pace through four pre-season games and United’s opening Premier League fixtures. It is a level of absenteeism now so stark that Rooney’s position in the side is being question by more than just a vocal fringe.
It would take a prolonged downturn for the mass of United’s support to pivot against the 29-year-old striker, but the mood on Friday night – at least in the polarising world of social media – was distinctly dark.
After all, Rooney’s minimal contribution extends beyond this summer’s early matches to much of the previous campaign, where he scored just 12 goals in a mix of attacking and midfield roles. When deployed in midfield or wide roles Rooney contributed eight goals, two assists, and just a touch over 1.6 key passes per game across 19 matches. Up front f0ur goals came in 14 matches. Performances? Underwhelming all.
The campaign before Rooney’s perceived hard work under David Moyes won hearts and minds, even if the Scouser’s tactical indiscipline might have cost more than it gained. His contribution stretched to 19 goals in 37 matches as United’s principal striker in a fundamentally disastrous season.
Beyond the numbers it is fair to observe that Rooney did little to bring United’s standard to an acceptable level under Moyes, or the squad into the fold as ailing manager and players became ever more divided.
In the present – a lack of goals aside – Rooney’s numbers look particular shoddy against Spurs and Villa, where he was involved in neither the Reds’ attacking nor defensive phases of the game on the opening day. Rooney’s two strikes against Spurs were both off target, while he made little in the way further attacking contribution.
Of the striker’s 29 successful passes at Old Trafford 19 went backwards. Even if that data point is mitigated by a player working with his back to goal, Rooney failed with his one attempted cross and a singular attempted take-on. Of the two chances Rooney created last weekend both were passes that led to a hopeful long-range shot.
His lethargy on the ball almost cost United the winning goal, and as the hosts’ go-to attacking focal-point, Rooney was very much an absent landlord.
It was even worse against Villa. The forward took no shots, took on no opponents, delivered no crosses and created just one chance – a 10 yard sidewards pass to Memphis Depay more than 45 yards from goal. Memphis’ determined run led to a shot; hardly one in the credit column for Rooney.
Once again most of Rooney’s passes went backwards, with the Scouser then dropping frustratingly deep at all the wrong times, only to give the ball away as United’s attack broke down. His first touch was as poor as at any time over the past decade.
Yet, this was supposed to be Rooney’s season. Restored to lead United’s attack at number nine, with the target of reaching more than 20 goals set by Louis van Gaal, Rooney has been proffered an opportunity to restore his lustre of greatness. Indeed, much of Van Gaal’s tactical focus is on the Scouser’s shoulders this season – a central spoke around which United’s myriad attacking midfielders can work.
They cannot if Rooney remains as static and ineffective as this.
“Our aim is to play with Rooney in the striker’s position,” said Van Gaal earlier this summer. “We have confidence that he can score more than 20 goals there. That is more than the strikers last year.”
Rooney, it seems, agrees. Number nine is Rooney’s “best position,” with the striker holding “no doubts” that he can score “20 goals or more” this season.
“The two seasons I have really done that as a lone striker have been my two best goalscoring seasons,” he added. “I am ready to take on that mantle and be the one who gets the goals for this team. If I play up there again this season, then I can get the goals. It is where I like and it is where I will play.”
An alternate analysis, of course, is that in 13 seasons as a professional Rooney has only twice scored more than 20 league goals in a campaign: 2009/10 and 2011/12. Even with the caveat of being deployed in multiple, mostly attacking, roles during his career, Van Gaal’s demand bucks the tide of history. It also places far too many of United’s hopes in one player’s hands. Or feet.
Of course, two games into the season, there is much to mitigate short-term criticism, if not the longer-term analysis. Rooney has traditionally taken some time – as many as 10 games – to reach true match fitness. Rooney has also tended to score in bursts before dropping back into a patch of poor form. The sharpness may come, followed by purple patch in the autumn, and then another stint of mediocrity.
There is an alternative, of course: to move on from Rooney, whatever his profile, outsized pay-packet and “special privileges.” And with the club seemingly not ready to acquire a top-class striker before 1 September that alternative can only be found in a change of tactics or of personnel.
Van Gaal has sought out neither just yet.
In fact Dutchman’s caution has come to the fore, with two holding players deployed in central midfield in each of United’s six games since the summer break. Meanwhile, the trio of attacking players used in support of Rooney has, in each match, included at least one player outwit his preferred role.
Last Saturday Ashley Young and Juan Mata were joined by debutant Memphis, who started in a central role. On Friday Mata – wide right – and Memphis played either side of Adnan Januzaj at number 10.
Yet, the decision to use two holding, together with the jumble of attacking players, and Rooney’s ponderous performances, have lent a stilted feel to the Reds’ attack. And just three shots on target and two goals in the opening games.
It leaves open the question of whether United’s verve might return both with Ander Herrera and Bastian Schweinsteiger restored to the side, Mata deployed more centrally and – bolder still – Rooney benched. One of Januzaj, James Wilson or Javier Hernández could hardly do worse in a striking role; Herrera would add a zip so far absent to United’s passing; Schweinsteiger genuine authority in attacking and defensive phases.
Van Gaal has signalled few, if any, positive attacking changes though. Quite the opposite, with Januzaj’s position at risk, despite a goalscoring game on Friday. Van Gaal’s search for control through possession continues; Januzaj’s flair perhaps a risk too far for the Dutchman whose early career flair has given way to a more pragmatic approach.
“I like a second striker in that position more than a third midfielder,” said Van Gaal of Januzaj’s selection. “That is why, for example, Herrera is not playing. But we have to show more ball capacity. We had too many unnecessary losses of possession as a team and Adnan Januzaj had unnecessary ball losses.”
Three, in fact. Far less than Rooney. But then the Belgian youngster holds none of Rooney’s sway over the coach. Whether Rooney can deliver on Van Gaal’s promise remains in doubt.
42 thoughts on “United’s attack tested by Rooney’s impotence”
maybe the only way to get rooney to play is use him as a 10. Buy a striker. If he’s our main striker we’ll struggle to 4th.
Rooney stank at 10 last season
good stuff. How long will LvG tolerate that level of Rooney ineptitude? Desperately need a viable alternative
The scouse Emperor is becoming threadbare even to the most intransigent, rose tinted spectacled observer. LVG notwithstanding.
Fellaini as the target man up top; Rooney finding him with unerringly accurate Hollywood passes!
Rooney hasn’t looked a World Class talent since the turn of the decade and has developed holes in his games (constant back passing being a big one, as well as an even worse first touch and a predictable, laboured short passing game) without showing any signs of trying to improve on them.
We’re in a position where our primary striker is far from clinical, looks reluctant to shoot, isn’t great at passing, is considerably slower than he used to be, seldom beats a man and is always looking to give the ball straight back without the clever movement to go with it. The irony of all this is that he is incapable of being a lone striker. He complains about playing in midfield, yet continually drops so deep to get involved that it leaves us with absolutely no one up front. Henry could come back and claim it because he was a clever player who beat people and was lightning quick getting forward, Rooney isn’t. Shearer wasn’t quick, so was almost never seen in midfield because then he’d leave no focal point of attack. Rooney combines both without every offering us the ultimate positives of either.
This has been a long time coming and ultimately we’re left with a player who we struggled to fit in at times last season. We tried 3 strikers, we tried him in midfield, we moved Mata to the right wing so Rooney could be a number 10. The simple fact is, last year especially, we had to sacrifice players that were superior in those positions to fit Rooney. We played him in Midfield because Van Persie (a superior finisher) was playing up front, but that resulted in Herrera not playing for 4 months. When injured we paired him with Falcao (who doesn’t look the same player he was a couple of years ago – clearly) but Rooney wanted to be the Second Striker, so Mata was pushed to the RW – but Mata is clearly a superior player through the middle due to his superior football HQ and greater range of passing – just yesterday he took that role for the goal, coming in from the right and showcased just why he’s one of the very best in that position in the league.
Last season it was easy to condemn Di Maria. He started wonderfully and his performances declined but he played an incredibly attack minded, individual game. This isn’t always a bad thing. Beating someone and starting a counter attack is still the most potent weapon in the game. But how many times did we see Di Maria break and start looking for Rooney? This was the most obvious sign of Rooney’s declining pace. In 2005-2009 we would destroy teams with the likes of Park, Rooney, Tevez, Ronaldo et al breaking on the counter. We’ve replaced some of that pace with creative players who can pick those forward passes now, both Mata and Herrera have showcased this numerous times, but the one constant of it all is that Rooney can’t do it any more. A player who has been playing a lot of football since the age of 16 began his decline at 25 and at 29 looks burned out. This can happen and these players don’t recover, they’re never the same – they either adapt or you move them on.
Ryan Giggs is a great example, he changed his whole game, his football IQ allowed for it, his impeccable technique, a first touch so beautiful that other professionals are made to look like amateurs, the body swerve, the ability to see what is going around him both when he does and doesn’t have the ball and most importantly his willingness to adapt to those around him. These are all features that don’t exist in Rooney’s game. Rooney was a bustling striker, barging people out of the way, beating them to the ball on sheer will. A game built on power and desire. I don’t think anyone could claim he has the same desire to play that he did as a raw teenager, where we’d read the stories of how he scored ‘that goal’ against Arsenal for Everton only to go home and play football in the streets with his mates. He certainly doesn’t have the pace and the power he did. When all that is gone all you have left are your raw techniques and your smarts. Rooney has never been a benchmark for either.
Ultimately Van Gaal won’t drop his Captain. The problem is, the Captain has consistently been one of, and in several cases, the worst player in the team. A far cry from the boisterous upstart we signed at 17 who would barge people over, run past people, hit shots hard from anywhere and just keep motoring. All of this has deserted him and instead we’re left with someone who would rather shout at the referee in his Captaincy role than pick his socks up and try and lead a team. Shouting does not make you a Bryan Robson. A Roy Keane.
Ultimately we could be left looking back and thinking we maybe should have accepted Chelsea’s high offer after his second request to leave. Instead we’re left with someone in the role of Captain who causes us to lose momentum in attack more than he does facilitate attacks.
People will argue that you don’t become a bad player over night. You don’t.
But this hasn’t been over night. This has been the very clear decline of a player over half a decade and if the result of that are performances of the kind we saw against Villa then he’s nothing more than a passenger. In fact, that may be too kind, a passenger turns up.
We need a goal scoring forward. They are out there and there’s a reason they cost big money. I just hope that we still have some left after the way Van Gaal has been going through it.
Wayne Rooney will be the all time record scorer but has done so over 11 years without ever really setting the world alight with goals. Only 2 seasons have showcased higher than 20 league goals, which is incredible when you look at the United teams that were built around him. He may have the records, but, if he were gone tomorrow and a quality goalscorer brought in, he wouldn’t be missed from the team today.
Performances like those we’ve seen this pre-season and two games in are not the exception.
“In 2005-2009 we would destroy teams with the likes of Park, Rooney, Tevez, Ronaldo et al breaking on the counter.”
— E.x.a.c.t.l.y.!!! In the last 2.1 seasons (past two and this one), every counter-attack possibility fizzles out. The last clear example of a traditional brutal counter attack was Berbatov’s goal against Everton where he received a long pass and cut in front the defender…
The brutal execution of United’s attack has faded with Rooney’s form.
Great post, at last there might some honest debate as to the merits of Rooney’s status plus position in the team. He’s been rubbish for years, the odd moment of brilliance but far too much very average performances the majority of the time. He was gone from the club if Fergie had not retired, to me his heart is not in playing for Utd, its all about the money to him now and has been for years. Gid rid please and give a talented young player like Wilson a chance.
Outstanding post. As much as I would like to disagree with it, the truth sometimes hurt!
PS You should be writing for a mag.
That’s very kind of you!
I would have got rid the first time he put a transfer request in.
What a hit on Rooney…. and I like it!
I will hold on to my hypothesis that Rooney forced Fergie out of United (via the Glazers). Fergie wanted to get rid of Rooney, but Glazers said no. Fergie lost the ultimatum.
Rewarding the Scouser when he held United hostage the first time was THE mistake of Glazers in the last decade. He should have been dumped to Chelsea or City faster than he say Glory Glory Man United. Let him be a lazy overpaid footballer somewhere else.
United will be paying for this Rooney mistake until his replacement is found… the earlier the better. How can LvG banish Valdes but Rooney captains the team… it leaves such a bad taste in my mouth.
Good piece.It shouldn’t take a pro footballer 10 games to get match sharp – >25% of the season.Unacceptable from him and for us.
I am no Rooney fan and I have been calling for him to be shipped out since he wanted to join City. But reading the comments about him after the Villa game made me feel sad for him, at a human level. So I started thinking what are the options for Mr Rooney.
The 1st option is he be honest with himself and admit he is slowing down. If he then accepts or better yet requests a diminished role as United’s high quality substitute who comes on to change games. This will make him beat United’s goal scoring records, earn him great respect and love with all of United fanbase and prolong his footballing career at international level. A well rested, loved and content Rooney might make England dangerous in tournaments. Plus he will have little or no pressure on him pre tournament for the first time since his 1st Euros.
The 2nd option will make him the LeBron James of the Premier League. That is if he drops down the football ladder and “takes his talents back” to Everton. Imagine the excitement that would surround Everton. Even the most extreme Rooney hater would appreciate the romantic gesture and his stock in the Proper Football Man circle would reach record levels.
The 3rd option is wearing the darkest shades he can find and ignoring the fact he is the elephant in the United lineup as long as possible. This is the route Gerrard took in his final years at Liverpool, which will end in a slightly bitter and over exaggerated goodbye to early retirement.
My wager is on him taking the Gerrard route.
Never have i heard so much rubbish wrote about a player for so long. I have been calling B.S on the Rooney commentary for years. Remember when he exploded on the scene post golden generation, his physical maturity and shot seemingly raising our hopes we had a platinum talent? Flip the White Pele song, to the present Rooney is seemingly more reminiscent of the Pele of nowadays displaying the dysfunction and impotence the article speaks of. Back in the day I writhed in my arm chair at the likes of Alan Hanson bestowing number 10 traits upon him ‘he threads passes through, he finds space like no other’. This was comparative nonsense because as a second striker and an English player catching the world’s eye it was fun, crazy and very lazy to pretend we had a typica numberl 10 on our brail reading hands. We never did. We had an excitable, explosive street footballer with an accurate side foot shot, 5 years ahead of schedule . We never saw vision, we never saw the consistent techique of a world class 10. Queiroz knew this and set about using Rooney’s other talent – his honesty and industry on the left of midfield. It worked at that time and we had some player, a foil to Ronaldo’s footballing smack. Now we find ourselves in realities cold turkey. The momentary rush from earlier has disapated, as has the enthusiasm of that street teen who ripped teams. Now we see what happens when a player with a narrower array of weapons looses something out of his quiver. The top speed is almost still there but the explosion most evident as a youngster is now barely a party popper. Due to his propensity of perhaps not being a party pooper. Lack of nurturing that thick frame by both player and club has left us with what? Someone who can not threaten in behind from deep and can not trap a ball under pressure from a center back. I hear rare delusion on the pod referring to him as a ‘battering ram’ Why because he’s battered when he gets rammed? Stop looking at his out-house build and focus on how he demolishes our attacks with a sh*t first touch that is often becomes a random volley when pressured. Gradually we accept the lowering of our standards to ‘he’ll get 20 goals’. Do we forget the wages? How hard it is to pair him with a partner? The fact that we sold a player in Welbeck who whilst floored as a striker would likely get 10 or 15 goals whilst creating a world of difference to team shape. Able to move towards and catch balls to feet or in behind that Rooney could only at best inconvenience the nearest defender? Then there is the short passing perhaps least sharp arrow on his back with that little delay and inaccuracy that makes him worse at 10 than 9. I ask this, what difference in functionality is Rooney to a Defoe or Owen of the same age? What else does he bring as a ‘you stand in between the centre backs’ forward. How long do you have to ponder this until only a Hollywood ball hides the bottom of barrel? Change that keg I say and let’s start a fresh.
let’s hope Rooney gets injured
What a wanker
Van Gaal is quite happy to badmouth exiting Spanish goalkeepers and to bully a young Belgian striker, but has he got the balls to deal with the blatantly obvious problem that is Wayne Rooney.
Declaring that as captain, Rooney had ‘special privileges’, was an unnecessary own goal by van Gaal. Fergie would never have left himself wide open with such a remark. Last season Van Gaal said Rooney wasn’t a striker but a midfielder. That was said of course so that he could accommodate his necessarily ever present captain with strikers van Persie and/or Falcao in the same team. This season and an about face.With van Persie and Falcao gone Rooney is now declared to be United’s main, perhaps only, striker who will get us 20+ goals a season. Yeah right.
“has he got the balls to deal with the blatantly obvious problem that is Wayne Rooney.”
I’m sure he does; but the real issue is that – right now – there is no obvious replacement.
I’m a huge fan of Chicharito but I don’t think he is the right guy for the job, especially not in LvG’s system. Kid Wilson looks callow. I’m not overly impressed by AdnanJ – at least, not yet.
So, the recurrence of the rumours about Thomas Muller make a lot of sense to me. So far, and the transfer window has more than two weeks before it closes, UTD’s “net spend” is negligible. The money is there to buy Muller – or Bale – if BM or RM would be sellers.
Otherwise, it makes as much sense to play a waiting-game and see if there is anything left in TheWayneBoy’s tank – he’s been a notoriously slow starter, he’s also been a player who runs-hot-and-cold. Sure, his play in the first two matches has been sub-standard but I’m not convinced that a stop-gap replacement makes much sense.
Of course, SAF would have – should have – sold him but (like Opti wrote @ 9:38) SAF was shown the door – or decided to quit. Then, the Moyessiah caved in and helped to negotiate his ridiculous, five-year contract.
By my reckoning, placating TheWayneBoy has been the primary reason why Dimmy, ShinjiSan, DannyTheLad, and RvP were squeezed out because none of them could “fit” into a team that made TheWayneBoy its trademark player.
However, I reckon that LvG now has the whip-hand and he has shown that he is not willing to tolerate second-rate effort or commitment. TheWayneBoy is skating on very thin ice.
Hope you are right. Van Gaal may have balls, in a bloody-minded, egotistical way but is he much of a risk taker?
United have invested so much in Rooney with his ridiculous contract whereby his earnings from here on in are still worth between 58 million and 95 million (depending upon sources). It’s a millstone for the club to bear and so far, under van Gaal, Rooney has had a much easier ride than other players, presumably in part at least, because of the club’s financial commitment to him.
If a new striker is signed shortly who is seen as a genuine rival for Rooney, then so much the better. However failing that has van Gaal the inclination to give kids a chance instead of the waning Wayne?
Are you saying the LvG is putting responsibility of Rooney’s shoulder to perform as the striker… and if he doesn’t to use the season as evidence of Rooney’s collapse — to pressure Glazers into giving up on their main asset? If so, I hope you’re right. There is no way Rooney can bang in 20-30 goals to justify his salary… and stay healthy all season…
In my mind, the Glazer are of the belief that every team needs a “Franchise” player — as they have in the american football leagues (NFL). The definition is:
“The NFL requires that a franchise player be paid at least the average of the top 5 players in the league at his position, or 120% of his previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. The franchise player status lasts for only 1 year and can be renewed, but if not renewed the player is granted unrestricted free agency.”
This sounds like Rooney’s role now (minus the 1 year limit)… and since Fergie left. Ronaldo was it before. Beckham before that. … Glazers may think this is way to go.
I am looking forward to United post-Rooney… where no player is greater than the club.
the right offer could get us Lewandowski, unlike Muller. Won’t happen though. Watch Shota Arveladze come out of retirement…
slack in the sack,that explains everything
impotence is being kind.non existent more like.becoming bigger issue than defence which can be protected
great read but I’m sure this ‘ll be forgotten when tht customary burst of goal scoring form comes then remembered wen its gone
People see exactly what they want to see. It’s called confirmation bias.
The haters see a street footballer who never displayed any vision. Ever. (Try YouTubing the 4-0 against Norwich from 2013, look beyond the peculiarity of a Kagawa hat-trick; notice anything else ?) Conspiracy theorists see 9/11 as a CIA plot, Elvis on the moon, and Ferguson forced out by Rooney. I see a player who has blown hot and cold his entire career, but currently very cold indeed, and institutionalised the way Gerrard was at Cesspool before Rodgers courageously called time.
The hatred needs examining however. Apparently Rooney has complained his whole time in Manchester about being shunted from position to position – to subsidise, let’s face it, Ferguson’s chronic neglect of midfield and obsession with buying centre forwards. Can’t say I’ve particularly noticed Rooney doing that over the years to be honest – but maybe I just didn’t register it, the way most United supporters didn’t register Scholes’s refusal to play further forward to accommodate Veron in his proper position, or his throwing his England toys out of the pram for a similar reason.
Yes, Rooney’s readiness to move to Abu Dhabi Sovereign Wealth Fund in 2010 was offensive, but his analysis of United’s lack of investment at that time was empirically correct. That a pay rise kept him at the club suggested opportunistic hypocrisy – but Ferguson, Gill and the Glazers all went along with it. As for summer 2013 and Chelsea: you might choose to see in that, repeat betrayal on the part of the player; I see a situation engineered 100 per cent by Ferguson – one which helped caused the chaos of Woodward and Moyes’s window.
I’m not sure van Gaal is getting many things right, but his offloading van Persie and Falcao was correct. The intention was to bring in a Kane or a Muller but neither is obtainable. (Lewandowski maybe if we hadn’t muddied Munich’s waters with Schweinsteiger.) Hopefully Hernandez will be kept and given a chance alongside Wilson, or hopefully Rooney will get it together, but suggesting he is the prime cause of our goal-free football conveniently chooses to ignore too many other factors made in Holland.
I agree with you that Rooney footballing IQ is good (I assume that is your point with Norwich game)… I just don’t believe his body can perform what his football mind decides to do…
Rooney is done this season if he doesn’t play like 2011. LvG will make sure that Rooney doesn’t stay until 2019 in his current form.
I think that you are right about this coming season being crucial for TheWayneBoy’s future at UTD.
BUT, it’s a long season and so far TheLads have only played two matches. So, a little patience is in order. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are already “contingency plans” in place.
Once LvG got his feet on the ground at UTD, he’s been pretty clear about what he wants – and what he doesn’t want. AND, it’s a “my way or the highway” situation so those guys who don’t get-with-the-program are being shown-the-door.
How many of SAF’s last team are still in the squad – Rooney, Young, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Chicharito, MC16 and ????? That’s a huge turnover in just over a year.
I forgot to add that 5/7 of those guys are English – is that a coincidence ?
Whilst there is merit in the argument regarding Rooney’s performances, the author’s utter antagonism towards “the Scouser” (an appellation used quite frequently in the article and deliberately designed to denigrate) explains why the captain is an easy target when discussing where things might be going wrong at the moment. The fact that we are only two games into the new season is overlooked.
Rooney has been asked to play out of position for some time now and this includes the current season. I don’t think he’s a No 9 or a sole striker – nor a central midfielder. He’s much better playing off someone who is a specialist striker. His game is not just about scoring goals its also about dictating play – not from a deep midfield situation – but from one just behind a main striker – ie in and around the box. This doesn’t preclude him from scoring goals in some abundance though.
I’m sure LvG realises this but not having much faith in Hernandez or Wilson, for different reasons, means that Rooney is the only candidate for the role. The bottom line is give either Hernandez or Wilson a run there or get in a specialist striker.
It’s still very early days but it is something that needs to be addressed as does the CB situation where United will be “found out” sooner or later. With no obvious solutions on the horizon for either position, it seems we might be stuck with what we have come the beginning of September.
1) Is he not a Scouser? Sometimes I use the words Englishman, or Dutchman, or Geordie, or Mancunian too. It’s a descriptor. The rest is you projecting, not “the author”
2) “Of course, two games into the season, there is much to mitigate short-term criticism, if not the longer-term analysis.” Miss that did you?
3) “Rooney, it seems, agrees. Number nine is Rooney’s “best position,” with the striker holding “no doubts” that he can score “20 goals or more” this season.” His words quoted.
It was a sad sight indeed, to see Rooney struggle against Villa – his touch, passing, positioning all exceptionally bad. To blame this solely on his rustiness, is plain stupidity, mainly because he has been on a major slide for the past couple of seasons. Despite diminishing his standing among many United fans for his 2 transfer requests, Rooney is a bigger United legend than Ronaldo, but stands the risk of diluting his standing among even his most loyal supporters if he continues to his poor form. The ideal thing would be for us to sell him next summer, but given his wages, it will be a wonder if we get any fee for him.
Rooney a United legend greater than Ronaldo. Simple quiz:
When were the “Rooney Years”? _____(fill in blank)_____
When were the “Ronaldo Years”? _____(fill in blank)_____
The answer to these questions should describe who made the greater impact…
Oh come on, lets be fair! Because the current situation is concerning, there’s no need to belittle Rooney’s achievements at this club. 480 appearances – the 12th highest in the club’s history. 3rd on the all time list of goalscorers. 7th best strike rate of all strikers who have played for the club with on average a goal just under every two games and now captain of the team. As great a player as Ronaldo was for the team, his contribution doesn’t compare.
Rooney has simply not been good enough for us even before Sir Alex left (remember when he was benched against Real Madrid).
We desperately need a goal scorer and it surprises me that a pragmatic coach like Van Gaal would let sentiments influence his renowned ruthlessness.
Ed’s notorious for his anti-Rooney rants, but I can’t argue with this one. Rooney looked complete crap in that Villa game and is showing no signs of the Rooney of a few seasons ago.
I have to say I think Fergie ruined him as a player. Rooney used to run at people and wreak havoc and jumble up defenses. He also got cards and played irresponsibly. Fergie beat that out of him at the same time he was buying turning the United who used to be fun to watch and score goals into a top four Italian side (seriously, when is the last time it was “fun” to watch us play?). Rooney had to fit into that boring, possession-minded style and as a result he lost his strengths.
He’s also older and trying now to do “too much” as the Captain. Mind you, I don’t think LVG escapes blame, either. Six points we have, but we’re still dire and he’s still pulling a Fergie and throwing people on out of position. Juan Mata is not a winger. Januzai is not a number 10 and Memphis… I don’t know what he is? Expensive?
“I think Fergie ruined him as a player.”
Ridiculous – how many EPL/CL winner’s medals did this “ruined” player collect ? How is this “ruined” player on the verge of being UTD’s all-time scorer ?
SAF used TheWayneBoy in a team – there’s no “I” in team.
Looking backwards, TheWayneBoy has been a terrific player for UTD; looking forward, nothing is clear about his future but it would be reckless to predict the future from his first two matches.
Like I wrote earlier:
“By my reckoning, placating TheWayneBoy has been the primary reason why Dimmy, ShinjiSan, DannyTheLad, and RvP were squeezed out because none of them could “fit” into a team that made TheWayneBoy its trademark player.
However, I reckon that LvG now has the whip-hand and he has shown that he is not willing to tolerate second-rate effort or commitment. TheWayneBoy is skating on very thin ice.”
There are some very interesting times ahead – enjoy the ride.
Fergie did ruin him.
Read Fergie’s book, he talks about seeing him as a Paul Scholes and central mid, neither of which Rooney is…at all.
When he was bought, he was bought to run at people and score goals. Fergie pushed him back into the midfield to cover up the rot he let get hold of his team and told him to pass and try to hold the ball. He became a different player.
Fergie reigned in his temper, too. Rooney, like Keane, played off energy and anger. That’s been gone for some time now, and I blame Fergie for that too.
it’s worth checking out footage of Rooney playing for United between 2004 and 2012 to remind us what a really wonderful player he was, with pace, power, skill and a very good first touch. The Wayne of today is a shadow of that great player. For three years he has been in steady decline and he is no longer a stand out performer. Physically he has deteriorated. His once ‘solid’ physique is now becoming ‘hefty’. He appears sluggish and lacking in sharpness. Even a Rolls Royce, if it has plenty of miles on the clock (thirteen years at the top for clubs and country) and a questionable service history (booze, fags and chips), is not immune to deterioration. That does not necessarily mean that Rooney is now rubbish, that he is finished or that his season will not improve. However, his best years are clearly behind him.
It is because he was once so good that he now looks so bad. Rooney set the bar high.
“It is because he was once so good that he now looks so bad. Rooney set the bar high.”
It is said that in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Looking at UTD’s squad, the decline in quality since 2008 – all over the pitch – is quite incredible. However, TheWayneBoy is key to UTD’s success this year. If he can recover most of his former mojo then TheLads are likely to be title contenders; if he can’t then a top-4 will have to suffice.
Disagree here. If Rooney doesn’t perform, we should not accept Top 4 as good enough… if Rooney doesn’t perform, he gets benched and we use other/better striking options or buy a striker in Winter window (ha! good luck!).
At United under-performance does not become the norm….
The speed of play the over the past five years in the premiership has increased by twenty per cent. This change his thrown his marginal physical decline into a harsher light.
If the objective of football was to shift the ball obviously and slowly on to your right foot and then smash it at a defender we would be in clover. Watching the mob assemble is normally depressing but hey he did try to sign for Chelsea and City. I’m just going to see if I’ve got a pitchfork in the shed.