manager failure Gérard Houllier has blamed Wayne Rooney for England’s disastrous showing at the World Cup in South Africa this summer. Despite a rash of horrendous performances from Fabio Capello’s stars, Houllier says Rooney’s lack of goals was central to the country’s 4-1 humiliation by Germany in the second round.
“Probably the key to understanding why England didn’t perform at the World Cup is that the top players didn’t do as well as we could expect them to,” he said.
“I’m thinking mainly about Wayne Rooney. He’s an outstanding player but whether he was tired or wasn’t in good shape I don’t know. If Rooney, who for me is a top player and finisher, had scored a few more goals maybe.
“If you look at the teams with one or two top finishers – Germany, Holland or Spain – they usually go forward. Uruguay went so far because of Diego Forlán.”
Rooney, of course, had a poor World Cup but then so did 20 of 23 England players at the tournament. The rest didn’t play.
Strange then that there is no mention by the French Federation’s technical director of England’s other “World Class” stars such as Frank Lampard or Houllier’s beloved Steven Gerrard, who have produced so little at international level for the past decade.
No, when in doubt, Houllier simply resorts to the easy critique: blame Rooney.