On a weekend we were meant to be sending strong signals to our main rivals while embarking on a season-defining fortnight by thrashing Wigan 4-0 at the DW Stadium thanks to 2 brilliant strikes by Chicharito, Rooney grabs the headlines for the second PL weekend running, although, this time, for the wrong reasons.
As Man Utd fans around the world vehemently argue against the notion that we get away with everything (as if Terry and Gerrard never get away with anything at all ever…) as Rooney is spared punishment from the FA, there should be no condoning or defence of what he did. Anyone blessed with the power of vision can clearly see Rooney elbowing James McCarthy in the face for no apparent reason apart from maybe McCarthy just stepping on his path.
That happened with the score 0-0, in the first 10 minutes of the first of 3 big away games for Utd which could shape our season. How different could the match have been if we were down to 10 men with 80+ minutes to play against a very spirited Wigan side who were causing us all sorts of problem in that first half? Given our atrocious away form this season, I don’t think we would have escaped unscathed!
On top of that, our first choice striker would have been banned for 3 more games and possibly more if FA had reviewed the incident retrospectively. I know we have good cover in the form of Berbatov and Hernandez, but with a heavily-congested fixture schedule, we need all our senior strikers to be fit and on form if we are going to have our hands on some silverware at the end of the season.
Even without thinking about how it would have affected Man Utd, that kind of thuggery has no place in the game. But then, for some time, Rooney’s over-zealous approach to football has been tolerated by most people, purely because there was a feeling he might lose some of his spark and inspiration if he doesn’t tackle someone from behind or swear at a referee once in a while.
As long as he didn’t cause serious injury to anyone, he didn’t cost us matches and was actually playing well, it was fine. But the elbow incident was the final straw for me. He had been looking very frustrated in matches lately and on Saturday, he came very close to wrecking what looks like a very tight yet promising title race for us. Rooney needs to get his act together. He offered a glimpse of what he is capable of against Man City when he is not telling referees to f*ck off and lashing out at players (like against Crawley Town).
He better stick to what he does best because Utd fans as well as coaches at the club will be running out of patience with his apparent lack of discipline on the pitch which could cost us dear at this stage of the season.