Analysis Opinion Insight

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


The British press are a hyperbolic lot,I understand that they have to sell newspapers and editors love making mountains out of molehills, but I do wonder why so much is being extrapolated from "the Wayne Rooney benching". It's not the first time Wayne has been benched, and it won't be the last. There have been times where he has been played out of position, dropping into midfield to help an injury ravaged squad, pushed out to the left, or even dropped in 2007/08 when Tevez or  Ronaldo were played through the middle in a 4-3-3 which eventually delivered a Premier League, Champions League Double. There was no talk of Wayne leaving the club, or being "out of love" with the club, there was, however, talk of "the right footed Messi" and the opportunity to challenge for global individual honours and England to world cup glory! 

Although things have changed in regards to the relationship between the player, the manager and the club, where the last round of contract negotiations in November 2010 escalated ridiculously quickly, with Paul Stretford advising the player to threaten a move to Man City and question the ambition of the club, The resulting pay increase came at a large personal cost to Rooney, a souring of relations with the fans and the manager as well as increased pressure to perform and global "star" status, that took a massive hit when he failed to produce in consecutive tournaments with England and the publicity his marriage indiscretions received.  

Scoring 30 goals but playing poorly is something only Wayne Rooney can do. A mercurial talent, Wayne had always been a "purple patch player", and had only recently become a more consistent goal scorer. This increase in consistency has, unfortunately, been accompanied by a downturn in the level of his overall play. Questions have been raised over his fitness for more than a year, with his penchant for a social smoke and drink seemingly eroding the fitness and stamina that was once a defining attribute. Pace has been sacrificed for power, with Rooney packing on upper and lower body muscle in an attempt to dominate opposition defenses. Being so muscular does have its advantages in a high impact, interval, environment, but in a sport like football, where stamina, strength, acceleration and speed are all equally important, a lithe strength, like that of Giggs,Valencia, Drogba, Vidic or van Nistlerooy would serve him better in the long run.
With the horrific looking injury sustained on Saturday vs Fulham, Wayne will probably be out until mid October, and it will give a chance for Kagawa and van Persie to form a creative relationship and allow Welbeck and Hernandez to score some goals and put some pressure on the "top 2" to fire up the United season and get the Champions League group off with a right bang. 

1 comment:

  1. An excellent post Vishnu. I agree with your thoughts and convictions. They make sense to me. Rooney being left out on the bench has happened before, and the English media is making a fuss about nothing but what all this does create is an unusual atmosphere in the club. Rooney too would be reading the newspapers and although 99.9% of what is written is hype, it does distract the players. Till mid-October we have to rely in RVP, Kagawa, Chicharito and Welbeck. But what troubles me is 'in what way will Rooney come back,'? I hope this simply doesn't become a situation of out of sight, out of mind.