Think because he's had such a long period of decline over the last say 5 years people forget how good he was at his best.
For 10 years Rooney was a world class striker who would've got into any team in the world played in 3 CL finals won 5 league titles and broke both his club and countries scoring records that had existed for around 50 years.
I think his problem is he's always judged against Ronaldo because from 04-06 they were equals if anything Rooney was the better player but after the world cup in 2006 Ronaldo just went to another level whereas Rooney just maintained the level he was at.
Like you say he's gone for a bit of a pay day a year or two of that then retirement awaits.
There 9 points off of the play offs with 5 games in hand. However they’re bottom of he division (played 3 less than anyone else) and only average a point a game. So don’t expect them to make up that 9 point gap even with 5 in hand.
Think it’s a generation thing. Players our age saw Cantona Bergkamp and Le Tissier lobbing the keeper like that as a youngster or rounding him. Players say 23 now saw Henry cutting in and putting it past the keeper. Signature Henry.
The next generation will all be knuckle balling a free kick like Ronaldo instead of placing it like Beckham.
I think it's partly down to the modern keepers being more agile than they were previously means they're harder to chip so players don't really attempt it.
As for rounding keepers the modern player tends to draw the keeper out and go for the dink over him rather than go round him and I think maybe the modern keeper doesn't rush out as quickly giving you that chance.