Posted on Monday, 28th June 2010 by Chudi
Much has been made of Frank Lampard’s disallowed goal but the plain and simple answer was that England just were not good enough and now the autopsy is under way fingers are being pointed and quite a few in the direction of Old Trafford.
Wayne Rooney was in electric form during the season, bagging 34 goals for United before an ankle injure and a groin injury slowed him down. Rooney suffered ankle ligament damage on March 31st against Bayern Munich but just days later on April 7th he lined up for the first team in the return leg, a game United needed to win.
He started brightly but faded out as United crashed out of the Champions League and hasn’t looked the same player since. He continued playing as United battled to the final day in an attempt to snatch the Premier League title away from Chelsea and even picked up another injury, this time his groin.
Many think his performances at the World Cup are as a result of the fact he wasn’t fully fit. The blame is being laid at Rooney and United’s door but anyone with these kind of thoughts need to take a look at themselves and ask why exactly Rooney not ‘showing up’ is the cause of England crashing out?
All through the season I have had to endure the jibes of people calling United a ‘one man team’ and prophesying what would happen to United’s season if Rooney got injured. These same people laughed when we lost to Chelsea, crashed out of the Champions league and drew with Blackburn without Rooney claiming that we were indeed a one man team so isn’t it now ironic that these same people are pointing the finger at Wayne for his lacklustre performances at the World Cup.
The last time I checked football was played by a team of 11, so why is Rooney being singled out for poor performances when there were others who under performed just like him? England sadly were as much a one man team as United were and when Rooney wasn’t firing neither did England. There was no back up plan as United tried with Berbatov etc rather they continued with the same plan.
There are a number of other players who were equally as bad as Rooney but having been built up in the press the way he was, Rooney is the easiest target. I said before he is likely to be the scapegoat and it is looking that way. The whole notion of building your team around one player leaves you susceptible to this sort of thing and unfortunately, as we saw at the tail end of last season, when it goes wrong it does so spectacularly.
Rather than blame Rooney for not performing or United for continuing to play him ask why there was no back up plan having seen that the original plan wasn’t working. England’s problems lie way deeper than Rooney under performing and in simply fingering him as the culprit for their failings it means nothing will have been learned from this humbling experience.