Wayne Rooney appears to be back in goal scoring form with five goals in six league games, but the man is somewhat of an enigma, both on and off the pitch.
Last season, Wayne enjoyed the highest goal return of his career, netting 33 times for his beloved Red Devils, but since he was injured in the first leg of Manchester United’s Champions League tie against Bayern Munich, he hasn’t been the same player. In between then and now, Wayne’s slotted in a couple of truly superb strikes, including a beautiful bicycle kick against Manchester City, and a low, thumping strike to beat Petr Cech on his near post. Although he’s ended his recent goal scoring drought, I can’t help but think that as a player, Rooney appears somewhat uninspired.
During a disappointing World Cup, every England fan looked at Rooney with a glint of desperation in their eyes, he could barely do a thing right and was looking more like an average player than a premier league maestro. This prompted many England fans to question why he hadn’t been dropped considering his poor form, and a growing resentment took hold of all but the Manchester United faithful – until Rooney strayed away.
Wayne’s personal life has often come under scrutiny from the media and he really doesn’t do himself any favours. A media storm ensued shortly after the news of Rooney playing away for a second time broke loose. With the world’s glare well and truly on Wayne off the pitch, he clearly couldn’t focus on matters on the pitch. This seemed to ignite the unimaginable, the intensity of the British media proved too much and Wayne Rooney wanted to leave United, for reason’s he said were down to ‘ambition’.
For a second season in a row it looked like Man United were going to lose their most talented player, after the departure of Portuguese sensation, Cristiano Ronaldo. United managed to tie up loose ends and agree a deal with Rooney, avoiding a loss that would have been equally as disappointing as the Ronaldo move the season prior. Many regarded this sudden change of heart from Rooney as insincere, an attempt to tilt the media’s gaze onto footballing matters and off his private life. Nonetheless, Wayne seemed happier than ever to sign a new, more favourable deal at a time when his all round game didn’t warrant a better contract.
Flash forward from the day the deal was made and Rooney is still vastly underwhelming – his game hasn’t improved noticeably from when he wanted to leave United. Perhaps raising the striker’s wage has adversely affected his hunger, his desire for the game seems to have dwindled and Sir Alex’s insistence on playing Rooney cannot help causes, especially when Berbatov has been firing on all cylinders this season. Now both strikers appear frustrated, and there’s a real danger of Berbatov returning to the shadows once again, his consistency has suffered and again he’s holding little influence in games.
This seems to be a result of the faith Ferguson has shown in Rooney, but Sir Alex’s trust in Rooney’s quality has started to pay dividends. Rooney netted twice against Aston Villa, hit a wonder strike against Man City, scored a tidy tap in against Wigan and a drove in a rare 20 yard strike against Chelsea. Hopefully Rooney’s form should follow suit and pick up as he finds the net more often, but strikers alone cannot be expected to sway a game if the service isn’t good enough.
Every United fan is calling for the same thing, another world class midfielder, and someone along the lines of Bastian Schweinsteiger or Wesley Sneijder would do nicely. Tottenham’s Rafael van der Vaart would have been a steal at £8 million, but Ferguson opted to take the advice of his friend Carlos Querioz and signed the extremely raw Tiago Bébé for £7 million.
To add to this current midfield crisis, player’s liason manager, Barry Moorhouse has unofficially confirmed that of the £80 million earned from the Ronaldo sale, not a single penny has been returned to the club. Although the green and gold campaign has suffered recently, United fans need to make their voices heard over the matter of the club’s ownership, debt levels and funding.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. A little Mexican man whose finishing is absolutely prolific. Perhaps the service to our strikers doesn’t have to be exceptional, because Javier Hernandez has proved time and time again that it only takes one chance to score.
Blog courtesy of Ben Hyman.