By Ben Davies
What is wrong with Wayne Rooney? It is fair to suggest the current Rooney is not the same player of the 2009-10 season, which saw him establish himself as one of the top football stars in the world. What is the reason for his struggles – recent allegations or do his troubles date to the injury sustained against Bayern Munich?
I’m not sure recent allegations are the main reason. Added pressure from media and speculation will no doubt be a hindrance and a factor, but his form was poor before the allegations became public knowledge. Perhaps knowing his off field activities were soon to be revealed weighed heavily on his shoulders and therefore was a mental strain? We are continually told Rooney is not suffering with injuries, but let’s be honest he has not been the same player since he was rushed back for the Manchester United’s second leg encounter with Bayern. His form was poor for the remainder of the season, which continued throughout the World Cup and now in his latest performance against Montenegro.
What are the options – continue selecting Rooney hoping he plays himself into form or allow him a period away removing him from the firing line? I’m erring on the side of the former; he himself has admitted he requires game time. I felt Rooney simply needed a goal to set him on his way. However, his struggles seem beyond the stage where a goal will restore confidence – he has already scored two goals in the current season (Switzerland & West Ham) and we’ve seen no real improvement in his all round game. His first touch remains poor and other aspects of his game are below his normal high standard. The other thought is for Rooney to have a complete break. If Rooney is struggling with niggling injuries – is the smart option for him to have a spell away from the game in the hope he fully recovers?
If you feel Rooney should continue on playing, does he start against West Brom on Saturday? Other strikers are breathing down his neck, Javier Hernandez recently scored for Mexico (with a typical goal poacher’s goal against Venezuela) plus his late winner in the Mestalla. On form Rooney is a clear starter, no contest. However, as things stand does Hernandez or another striker deserve a starting birth? Perhaps a solution is to play Rooney on the left killing two birds with one stone? He has played several games on the left with limited success compared to his normal central role. Personally, I’d be reluctant for him to play on the left, especially in a 4-4-2 formation. Perhaps there is a greater shout for him fulfilling this role in a 4-5-1/4-3-3, where he is allowed greater freedom when Man United are attacking.
His lack of form is perhaps a combination of the injuries suffered and the scandal in his private life. We’ll at some point see the return of Wayne Rooney – he is simply too good. The sooner the better though please Wazza!
If you wish to discuss this issue further with myself or other members of the Stretford End Arising community, you can do so in the Stretford End Arising Forum