Wayne Rooney has arguably been one of the greatest talents in English football in modern times. The player who has scored over 50 goals for England and is closing in on 250 goals for Manchester United has enjoyed a 15 year career so far that has been mainly filled with highs. As is often the case with the British media, the very same publications that have celebrated his successes and built him up are now preying on his every move to knock him down from whence he came.
Once upon a time in a football fairytale (not so long ago), a player joining a wedding celebration and enjoying a few drinks with guests would be a hero – nowadays things are very different and Wayne Rooney has been hammered by the press for his antics whilst on international duty.
Perhaps it has raised wider issues and bigger questions about footballer conduct and the line between their personal and professional lives, but for Wayne Rooney, it is just the latest in a long string of 2016 low points – so we are asking the question as to whether Wayne Rooney is suffering a hangover that he just won’t be able to shake.
It is hard to feel sympathy for someone who earns more in a week than most people earn in five years – but then no-one enjoys seeing a previous Premier League star fade away.
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic suspended for the visit of Arsenal in the Saturday lunchtime kick off it might be the perfect tonic for Rooney to bounce back to form if he gets the chance to play in a more prominent position – but would it just be a short term fix even if he were to bang a goal in?
Wayne Rooney made his debut for Everton at the tender age of 16 in 2002. The fact that 2002 seems like a lifetime ago may go some way to explaining the downturn of the Englishman’s form. Rooney has been a fantasy football manager’s dream at times and the 2013/14 season that saw him score 17 goals and register 10 assists was his most impressive of recent years. If we go back to the 2011/12 season then we will remember him ruthlessly destroying defences with 27 goals and 4 assists. But will we ever see this side of him again or is it time to give up on him from a fantasy football point of view?
Some pundits are saying that the versatile forward has lost his legs, others disagree and say it’s his appetite for the sport. Others blame his lifestyle and general fitness. One thing that cannot be argued is his skill. But is it enough to keep fantasy footballers picking him? In fact, Rooney does not even feature in our fantasy football single game between Man Utd and Arsenal today with preference given to Marcus Rashford as a Premier Punt star player and he is likely to be given a starring role in the game by Mourinho.
From Rooney’s perspective, one of the biggest frustrations for the ex-Everton player is probably that he has been playing in various roles (but crucially not as a striker) for two seasons now – Rooney is an impact player and whilst he is capable of playing in midfield or out wide, he is not going to be as impactful as he will in the number 10 position or as an out and out striker. Has he been mis-managed or is he simply not good enough?
Rooney should feature in today’s fixture and whilst it could be marred by injury and suspension there is enough talent out there for Premier Punters to choose from. Paul Pogba, Juan Mata, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott will be amongst the other popular picks for the game. It will be interesting to see if the Man Utd manager opts to play Rooney in a more advance role – if he does, then he can potentially have more of an impact – possibly the only thing that can clear his head from this lingering hangover. Either way, it looks like the trend is declining and we don’t see that changing in the medium to long term.