Wayne Rooney looks like three pounds of hamburger meat in a two-pound bag. Unsurprisingly, for the best part of last year, one of the major pressures on Rooney was his fitness. He isn’t noted as a great trainer and there are some who say he came under such pressure from Alex Ferguson about his fluctuating weight, that maybe that’s when the estrangement between these two stubborn characters began.
Last season, for the first time, I saw the normally peripatetic Rooney slowing down to a walk and then to a complete standstill. An alarm bell clanged in my head. He had just made a great run into the box, which wasn’t spotted by his teammate. As the ball was cleared, Rooney stopped and threw his eyes up to heaven, grimaced and shrugged his shoulders, the way that frustrated strikers do when their magic is on the wane.
Much more unsettling for Rooney was Alex Ferguson’s acquisition of Robin Van Persie, who immediately paid his way with a cornucopia of great goals. Ferguson upped the pressure by substituting Rooney several times. In one game, Rooney didn’t even make the squad. Rooney put in a transfer request and the usual theatrics of denial are being acted out right now.
In the Far East, in pre-season, David Moyes, the new manager at Old Trafford, took the opportunity to have a press conference, where he had prepared a carefully crafted response to the inevitable question about Rooney.
“Overall my thought on Wayne is, if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we`ll need him.”
However, Moyes quickly covered his ass when he added “I want to be able to play the two of them, I want to use Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez as well. I want to give myself as many options as possible.”
Rooney is quoted at being “angry and confused.” I’d like to have heard Rooney’s tirade in response, because Rooney feels he is at the peak of his career and after nine years with United, he doesn’t feel the need to prove himself any more Rooney is basically saying ‘Read my CV’.
And there’s the flaw. Anybody who is picking up £ 240,000 per week playing football had better prove himself worthy of it, week in week out. In fairness, Rooney has a brilliant football brain, under his new thatching, but if you can’t handle yourself off the pitch, you are a liability to yourself and to your club. And when you’re on such huge money as Rooney, you shouldn’t be expecting much empathy from the supporters.
This last year has been particularly fraught because Rooney tried to tango with the master psychologist Ferguson, who must have niggled him with his substitutions and omissions. Now Rooney is empty. He is out of Red Devil Juice and he has to stay calm and silent because the potential new gaffers will be watching closely to see the shape of his temperament .
A bullfight is not a pretty sight. Neither is watching Rooney having a bad game for England. The expectation surrounding him supposes that Rooney, in his role as an aggressive striker, will inspire the rest of the team. I don’t believe he has ever given leadership. I never saw him dominate a game on the international front and the older he has grown, more often than not, he has finished the game wearing that look of frustration that says he understands, once more, that the difference between men and boys is down to half-a yard of pace and the ability to hold onto the ball.
Rooney reminds me of a fighting bull. He wouldn’t have any problems at the Bull Run in Pamplona. If bulls could talk I’m sure they’d say “ don’t knock over that lad with the thatch…sure he’s one of our own.”
In a bullfight, as it progresses, the bull gets tired and grows “angry and confused.” Ferguson was the matador who last season began to tire out the Bull Rooney. Ferguson may now have retired, but as a director, he will still have the ear of Moyes. Or will he be total hands-off.
The two clubs that are vying to give Rooney a chance to re-invent himself are Chelsea and Arsenal. How will the scouser relate to the Special One, Jose Mourhino. Well he’ll have to start buying really well cut suits if he’s going to keep pace with the Portugese Adonis. And maybe he should get Roberto Mancini to do a nixer and instruct Rooney on how to wear a scarf with style.
If, on the other hand, he lands up in Arsenal, in North London, Arsene Wenger might be better for Rooney. With a minimum of fuss, Arsene can tell him what books to read and how to move smoothly and sophisticatedly through the social jungle that is London. As long as Rooney stays away from celebrities of every stripe, everything will be all right.
Wayne “Kerching.” Here’s your 240,000.Article Written by Shay Healy First Published in The Irish Daily Mail, Saturday 27th July 2013 Shay Healy’s latest eBook ‘The Danny Boy Triangle’ is Out Now on Kindle 2.99 Free Kindle Reader – download app