How to solve a problem like Rooney?


By Tom Pattison

Earlier this season in the midst of speculation surrounding his future I wrote a blog on Michael Carrick’s position at Manchester United. This coincided with a joyful upsurge in Carrick’s form which happily made my article appear at best premature and at worst foolish. I dearly hope this entry suffers the same fate.

Yesterday as I watched our feted number ten fail to find feet yet again with a simple pass, Andy Gray turned out the kind of searing insight that has made his a rich man from Murdoch’s millions; ‘That’s just the way things are going at the minute.’ No doubt Jamie and Richard in the studio were mesmerised by the Scotsman’s analysis but quite frankly I’m fed up of it. Not Andy Gray – I tired of Mr ‘Take a bow, son’ long ago. I’m tired of the constant excuses for our supposed star player’s wretched performances in a red shirt since that disappointing night in Bavaria. The fact is Gray’s comment could have been made any time during the last six months where he has been actively playing football for Man United. I refuse to console myself with the view that the Murdoch media spin that ‘he just needs one to go in’.

If the last couple of months had seen him create and miss a litany of chances I would be quick to jump to his defence. Yesterday he missed a couple of chances yes, but most inexcusable was a pass completion of 50%. In reality this means that he was as valuable to Tottenham yesterday as us. Detailed to play in his favoured role of creative second striker Rooney managed to find a Spurs with half of his passes and was eventually cast out to the right side. I would like to know how badly he needs to play to be hauled off but I guess his engine was deemed useful to pin back Bale. In effect he was reduced to filling the gap left by Park Ji Sung like a Scouse Dirk Kuyt. Just imagine instead of Wayne Rooney this was Andy Cole twelve years ago – the condemnation and mockery would be deafening. We have tried sending him to fat camp. We have told him well done for a mumbled sort-of-apology on Pravda. We have hailed a possibly mis-directed header against West Brom as if it was Cantona at St James Park. We have returned him to the starting line-up immediately regardless of the fine form of Chicharito.

I don’t really have an answer to this. It upsets me to see a player so ruthlessly effective for much of last season reduced to a passenger in the current side. Thank god for his sake we are still managing to be successful or else I suspect it would be more than this disgruntled teacher at the end of a long day sticking the boot in. When the news came that the fiasco was over and Our Wayne had signed on to stay as a Red I felt empty and oddly not even relieved. It felt like something had changed that was potentially irreparable, more questions remained than had been answered and I can’t shift that sense that ‘one going in’ wouldn’t spark the resurgence in form that would comfortably carry us to number 19. My greatest hope is the mooted February return for Valencia provides the tonic and we can look forward to a golden end to the season feasting on magnificent headers and laughing at that stupid blogger who dared to question Manchester’s finest. Here’s hoping.

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  1. Good read and unlike many United fans not frightened to actually communicate what you feel on Rooney.I conveyed exactly the same sentiment during live game time on the fabulous ROM forum.”This is sad to witness his demise”.
    On the subject of Andy Gray as i am Scottish and know full well who he is and his history, dont expect him to be critical of the “Union” that is football professionals.I can think of only one person of recent that speaks without a forked tongue the engrossing Ian Holloway at Broomfield road, says at he see’s it at the time its not calculated to massage those that want you to stay on side.
    Rooney to me is a passenger and a very expensive one as you highlight in your article not only for his lack of contribution to United in producing, but his clear contribution to put United in dangerous situations because of his wayward passing and woefull tackling.
    He is also reverting to form, shouting at Referee’s and generally dropping deeper and deeper in search of the ball.
    The headline question is a tricky one to answer but I do not believe he is repaying the “Loyalty” he was offered bye Sir Alex.
    To me there are far better players in World football that merit a wage of in excess of £200 thousand per week!
    He needs to step up and fast or he is gonna be a goner!

  2. Rooney has self-esteem problems. He had to voice his opinions through an agent e first place. Now his inability to carry through on those opinions is expressed in a dire lack of motivation. But, the truth is, his opinions remain the same: the team isn’t good enough to challenge for the highest honours. Even the dogs on the street know it. And the reason for that is that the midfield is second rate. The team is built on a rock solid defence and a good attack.

  3. Solution is very simple…..SELL HIM! Most of our English boys are overrated anyway. At best all we can say about them is they tried their best, work rate is gr8 but footballing basic are always v.v.poor!

    Chicharito, Welbeck, Macheda and of course Berba are more than enough. We can use the £50m+ (if we can even get that now) to invest in some decent centre midfielders….flog Fletcher n Crapstick while your at it…..oh and add Brown, O’Shite, Gibson to that list as well…..

    • We know the team is not good enough to challenge for the highest honours mate, the Champions league! Do you think its place to be critical of his team mates to achieve what his aka Paul Stretford wanted.
      To ridicule and belittle our manager in the process!
      He is not to me a United player now.The word United means more to me than Rooney!

  4. Rooney is a good player but because he’s English and exagerrated a lot. On Rooneys current form he wouldn’t get into any top Italian or Spanish team because he’ll simply get booed or forced to stay on the sidelines. I’ve always thought hes a good player but that’s it.

    I’m sorry but you can’t build the team around Rooney because he’s very inconsitent. Sometimes you dont know who is turning up. Thats why he had to play second fiddle to ronaldo. Ronaldo’s performances were always consistent and always willing to raise his game.

    I think Rooney has the potential to be a very good player which he is but not a great one. I’m sorry he’s just not that good. You have to be born with it I’m afraid. If you look back on last season almost all Rooneys goals if I am correct were scored in the box. Rooney finds it difficult to score out of the 18 yard box.He has declined in some aspect in my opinnion

  5. Gee, it’s nice to finally see other people realize what I’ve been saying for the last 2 – 3 years – that Rooney is the most over-rated and over-hyped player of recent generations, more so because of an English press and public starving for heroes in the game their nation created.

    His pass completion was awful? Just when has Rooney ever been an effective passer of the ball? His vision, decisiveness, and delivery are pretty pathetic at the best of times, which is one of the reasons Berbatov, who is the absolute opposite, gets so frustrated at times. The Bulgarian just has too much class to make an issue of the fact that he has a lousy partner who can’t come close to providing the kind of service he gives to others.

    Rooney’s first touch is abysmal, almost amateurish – I don’t know how many times I’ve seen the guy take a simple cross and bounce it yards away off his shins, meaning he either loses precious time retrieving it, giving defenses plenty of time to hone in and shut him down, or bounce it so far away that he actually delivers it back to the opposition. Berbatov, by comparison, looks like he has glue on his boots, so sublime is his touch.

    As for Rooney’s shooting – how much time do you have to read on this subject? The guy at times looks like he couldn’t hit the side of Old Trafford stadium from 10 yards – he’d probably kick it over the wall with what has become his signature shot, the stratospheric launch into the heavens – he’s even taking to doing it when taking penalties! As someone has already pointed out. most, if not all, of Rooney’s goals last season were put in from close range, handed to him on a plate by the likes of Valencia, Nani, and Berbatov. Unlike players such as Nani or Berbatov, Rooney doesn’t seem capable of making goals for himself, he is simply too reliant on others. When was the last time you saw him skip past 2 – 3 defenders to put a goal in? More often than not he even manages to lose the ball when simply taking on one guy – Berbatov by comparison, the guy constantly slagged for being lazy in defense, makes it look effortless to hold the ball against 2 – 3 defenders at a time through a combination of strength and guile – he’s the best player in the team at maintaining possession in such circumstances.

    As for Rooney’s much vaunted defensive work ethic, how many times have we seen Rooney easily dispossessed when tracking back to help out? Last season he even gifted a goal to an opposing team through such slackness, and repeatedly put our defense under pressure through such mistakes. His tackling at times is almost up there with that of Paul Scholes, especially when he’s angry.

    But hey, the guy wears his heart on his sleeve, runs all day, and gives his all for the cause, which in English parlance means he’s a champion, all class. Bullshit. Running up and down the pitch for 90 minutes means you’re a trier, that’s all, and it’s about time that the English public realized that Rooney, and the ardent manner in which people in England view his efforts, reflect all that’s wrong with English football. He’s an average footballer who’s never come close to realizing the potential everyone thought he had as a youngster. Yet he isn’t the one donning Emperor’s clothing and parading around trying to fool everyone. The media and English public are the ones who dolled him up and pulled a fast one on themselves out of sheer desperation for a home-grown footballing champion. As he’s shown every time on the world stage, other nations see him for what he truly is and have had little difficulty making him look an embarrassment. If he’s suffering any real crisis this season, it surely comes from the drubbing his confidence must have received at the recently concluded World Cup.

  6. @timbo
    Gr8 comment mate….agree with you 100%! Most sheep on these blogs are just delusional twits who think a gr8 footballer is he who just runs around all day nevermind their actual footballing ability. Vision, control skill levels are totally ignored hence people like berba nani n ando getting little or no support from fans who watch football through beer goggles. Meanwhile garbage like oshit, crapstick, fletcher, rooney and nevile r paraded as utd through n through….nonsense!

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