It was around this time last year that a man masquerading as Wayne Rooney was putting in awful performances for Manchester United.
It was assumed that injuries as well as fatigue were robbing us of the Wayne Rooney that had scored 34 goals the previous season. He had been rushed back from the ankle injury that effectively ended his season and our title hopes too soon. Coupling that with the fact he went to South Africa with England for the World Cup meant we had been given back a weary and unfit striker.
But at the start of October rumours of the strikers infidelity were smeared across the front pages of newspapers worldwide. Everybody had an opinion on it and subsequently Wayne Rooney made his intentions of leaving Old Trafford clear.
We all know how that saga panned out and it is merely an aside in a season that saw us win league title number 19 as well as reach the Champions League final for the 3rd time in 4 years as Rooney came good and his poor start was put down to off field problems amongst other things.
With that said I don’t suppose I’m the only person with a feeling of Deja Vu here?
News today that Rio Ferdinand has lost a court case to prevent papers revealing cases of extra marital activities make this a very familiar scenario to the one we faced last season.
Last season as he returned against Chelsea in the Champions League we sang his praises, welcoming the returning hero but this season, with the rise of Chris Smalling and the signing of burgeoning talent Phil Jones, it appears Ferdinand is becoming a whipping boy.
Injured in the first league game against West Brom, this season has been a stop start one for Rio Ferdinand and when he has played he hasn’t looked his assured comfortable self and the game against Basel highlighted this.
It wasn’t just the sloppy manner in which we gave away goals with a defence supposedly being marshalled by the former captain, it was silly things that we don’t expect from the usually class Ferdinand, things like his slip that felled Frei, an indiscretion that a harsher ref may have deemed a foul and sent him off for as the last man.
Injuries haven’t been kind to Ferdinand in recent years and it seems this season is no different, at his age they will definitely start taking a toll so having to worry about personal problem won’t help his case.
Whilst Ferdinand’s form hasn’t been as drastically bad as Rooney’s was it has still been bad enough for people to highlight but like I said in Rooney’s case, players don’t just turn ‘shit’ overnight so I expect that his off field problems will be taken into account when people start writing him off.
People have been way to quick to criticize Rio. There’s no doubt that his performance against Basel was awful; but I don’t remember the previous ones being poor.
However, if the slide were to continue, it must be said that defenders and keepers are on a shorter leash. In a sport as low-scoring as football, a defensive error has far greater consequence than an offensive one. Even a slumping offensive player can produce a moment of brilliance to change the game. Case in point: Rooney’s goal against City last year. In fact, when you watch the whole play, he has a terrible touch moments earlier which is salvaged by Scholes and barely seconds later he scores the goal of the season. No one cares if a defender pulls out an incredible tackle if he loses his marker and conceeds a goal moments later.
I haven’t pulled my knives out for Rio yet; but if a pattern emerges then it would be much harder to wait on him since he’s a defender.
I agree, I think he needs a little more leeway. The Basel game for me was his first properly poor game, with Crouch’s goal it’s debatable whether it was his fault or not.
The signings of Jones and Smalling looking brill means it easy for fans to think that we don’t need Rio as much as we do but at his best neither get close to him, and I don’t doubt he will be back to his best soon.
Ferdinand was poor, but other players were also bad. He shouldn’t be made to be singled out after one bad performance. End of the day I watched him against Bolton and Stoke away from home and he was fine. He obviously has fitness issues which is why we signed Phil Jones. He needs a bit of a run in the team and he needs to play against Norwich.
I wouldn’t write the guy off after one game. He will get his head down and train harder, that is what Rio is all about. However he should have retired from International duty. I love England but Ferdinand fitness issue are the reasons he should focus on his club career. If he hadn’t had any injuries then I wouldn’t consider him retiring. I think he is needed at Man Utd for another couple of seasons to help Smalling, Jones and Evans. He will play less and less though because of those three.