Firstly, I do not think Wayne Rooney is a world class footballer. In fact, I don’t think there is a single world class player in England, or rather there is not a single English world class player in England. By world class, I mean a player who would be called up for an interplanetary clash against, say, Mars. The Welsh superstar Gareth Bale would probably make the squad but England wouldn’t have anyone anywhere near the bench, but Wayne Rooney is still a high class footballer, as good a player as we currently have. Why not, for once, celebrate the player we have?
Rooney is set to break Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record against San Marino tomorrow evening and that’s no mean achievement. He has also won almost everything in the domestic and European club game, usually more than once, but in the international arena he has won nothing. But then, in an era of extreme English international mediocrity, which extends into today’s team, is that really surprising? In a far better team, Rooney might well have won international honours, but playing in an England side these days comprising mid table Premier League players and bit part bench performers for the bigger clubs, he has never had the chance.
The legend Geoff Hurst points out, in a somewhat sour intervention, that Rooney is not at the same level of Sir Bobby Charlton. Well, who said he was and anyway it’s hard to compare eras, and somewhat pointless too. Rooney is what he is and he is one of the best English footballers of his era, fact, along with the likes of Steven Gerrard, David Beckham and Paul Scholes.
Some say Rooney is on the decline and others, for reasons that are beyond me, say he should be axed altogether. That reckons without the man’s record and the man’s growing influence on younger players. He has grown into the captaincy role and the importance of a captain who has the respect of his team mates cannot be underestimated. I’ll bet if you were to ask his manager and his fellow players they would always be desperate to have in on their side.
And here’s another thing about Rooney: he always wants to play. No “convenient” injuries before so called less important internationals, Sir Alex Ferguson often spoke of the difficulties trying to get Rooney to take a rest and miss, say, a League Cup second round game because Rooney always wanted to play, never wanted to miss a game.
We should enjoy Wayne Rooneywhile we have him. That he is a high class player should be a given. He is not a Messi, a Neymar or a Ronaldo, but he is in the next category below that, which makes him a very good footballer indeed. As ever, we will probably only realise just how good he is when he retires because as things currently stand there’s no one even close to taking his place.
How about us English folk celebrating a talent rather than constantly trying to rubbish him? Rooney hates losing and has never celebrated failure, not that he has endured much of it.