When the news broke today about Wayne Rooney ending his International career at the age of just 31, I for one, was in shock. Many have claimed Rooney hasn’t been the same player over the last few years, but I want to look at things from a different perspective.
Rooney totalled 253 goals in the 559 games he played in all competitions for Manchester United, giving him a goal ratio of approx 1 goal in every 2.2 games. Not a bad return. His England record was pretty much identical. Any other player, people would be raving at that record, but for some reason, people seem to be super critical of Rooney. Is he a bad striker? No. Has he played in a bad team? No. Is he a goal poacher, ala Ruud van Nistelrooy/Raul/Ronaldo (Brazilian)? No. Wayne Rooney has always worked tirelessly and selflessly for everyone else around him, supporting team mates with some world class passes and through balls (101 assists to his name I may add). I’ve watched games where he’s played up top as a ‘Number 9’ and he’s been busting a gut to get back and help out his full backs. But he would still be in the right place, when the ball came to him to put it in the back of the net.
Love him or loathe him, his records speak for themselves. You don’t become Manchester United’s all time leading goalscorer if you’re a bad player. Likewise, you don’t become England’s all time leading goalscorer if you’re a bad player. But for some reason people seem to think Rooney is that. Yes, admittedly, some of the teams he scored against weren’t the best, but he didn’t choose to be selected for those games. His managers chose him, to do a job… Score goals, and that he did! You cannot criticise a striker for scoring goals. He had his fare share of big match goals too, scoring on big occasions for Man United in Europe, in Title winning seasons, and in cup finals. He always rose to the occasion, and rightfully wrote his name into history.
Let’s put things into perspective here, Alan Shearer has 260 Premier League goals, there is only one other player who has scored 200, guess who… Rooney! Because, he is one of the best players of his generation. There is no question about it.
Rooney has drifted away on occasions too, the major tournaments with England weren’t his strong point, and unfairly, that’s what most football fans are going to judge him on with a return of only 5 goals from major international tournaments. They forget the amount of times Rooney has dug England out of a hole in tricky qualifying games to actually get us to the major tournaments. Another interesting stat about Rooney, is although his Man United record was pretty poor, he actually had a 100% record from the penalty spot for England. Something that not many Englishmen can boast about.
But as his international career draws to a close, his playing days seem like they are far from over, he is a reinvigorated figure under Ronald Koeman at the club where he burst onto the scene back in 2004 as a 16-year-old, Everton, and looks to have flown out of the traps this season with the two goals needed to notch 200. Ironically, at The Etihad, against Man City, where he also scored his 50th and 150th.
I had the pleasure of seeing Rooney score two of his 53 England goals live and in person, and on that day, he was different class.
Wayne Rooney has won everything domestically there is to win with no fewer than 5 Premier League titles, 1 FA Cup, 3 League Cups, 4 Community Shields, 1 Champions League, 1 Europa League and 1 Club World Cup.
Thank You very much Wayne Rooney for everything you did for England (and Man United). Best of luck at Everton, and long may it continue… Alan Shearer, he’s coming for you.