A Tale of Two Waynes

In ten years time, English football fans will look back in the annals of history and cast villainous or glorious eyes upon someone named Wayne. This pending assignment of fates will depend on the outcome of this summer’s World Cup. Wayne Bridge, as unfortunate as it is, has been in the media for all the wrong reasons in recent weeks. Embroiled in a PR nightmare-affair-driven scandal, Bridge, whilst attempting to emerge unscathed has removed his name for England contention some 100 or so days before a ball is kicked in anger. 

The second-choice left back for England and first choice left back for perennial underachievers Manchester City cites his position in the squad is now “untenable and potentially divisive“. Come on folks, can you imagine a locker room with those two in it? All the while Wayne Rooney sits quiet in the corner, focused, meditating, contemplating how to break down the staunch German defense in a World Cup quarter-final. Speaking of Rooney,…

Wayne Rooney on the other hand is in the form of his life, has placed not a kick wrong all season, but carries the ridiculously heavy burden of every single hope, dream and aspiration of an entire country (and even some Americans). It’s almost March and Rooney actually looks to be getting stronger having given up scoring with his feet in preference of his head all the while carrying Manchester United on his broad shoulders.

For anxious England and Manchester United fans, the time will soon come where every step, every kick and every tackle their beloved hero participates in will be greeted with nervous anticipation. He’s got to have a rest soon or could risk burnout. Think about it, can one man continue this kind of form March 1 through the middle of July?

One could argue that Mr. Bridge’s decision to commit international football suicide was in all honesty soon enough therefore far away enough to not cause a major distraction to the England dressing room come June. One may also argue that a certain Mr. Leighton Baines or Mr. Stephen Warnock could easily fill the left back shoes left vacant by Bridge. England fans may also have Ashley Cole back in time to claim his starting spot making this debate seemingly irrelevant.

And what’s to become of the likely lad Mr. John Terry? Certainly not in the form of his life for club, Terry trudges forward on an uneven landscape, a balancing act of sorts, as he stumbles his way in central defense stripped of the England captaincy he once held so dear. Surely the decision to pick between Bridge or Terry will never coalesce for Fabio Capello, or will it? Capello’s always said he’ll pick on form and not reputation, a deciding factor that’s plagued England managers in the past. And what of the fringe England central defenders? Upson, Lescott, Cahill, Jagielka? Could one of them replace Terry to make way for Bridge? Uncertainties that will reveal themselves in time.

One thing’s for certain, the pre-match handshake of Chelsea and Manchester City on the weekend will without a doubt be the most anticipated moment in English football this season.

13 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Waynes”

  1. it’ll be like Shaq vs Kobe on Christmas 2004.

    wrt the locker room being “divisive” – I’m sure it will be if he’s there. The best quote I’d read about the media spotlight were they to both suit up for England:

    “Every pass back to Terry from Bridge will either be The Pass of Forgiveness or The Hospital Ball of Hate.”

    by removing himself, Wayne did what Fabio Capello did in stripping JT of the captaincy – cut down the distractions.

  2. Unfortunately, if the English team returns home with anything less than the Cup, this will be debated ad nauseum. It certainly isn’t the greatest situation, but steps are being taken – wisely – to keep the distractions to a minimum.

    Let’s hope that everyone can just watch some football, and leave the off-field foolishness where it belongs.

    Yeah, not likely…

    1. I couldn’t disagree more. Did you watch them in qualification? 100% record up until they played away v Ukraine which was a game where they were down to 10 men in the first 15-20 mins and a game that didn’t matter in the overall scheme of WC qualification.

      Also, Fabio Capello is a master tactician. He’s won just about everything there is to win wherever he’s managed. Don’t count this English team out.

  3. “For anxious England and Manchester United fans, the time will soon come where every step, every kick and every tackle their beloved hero participates in will be greeted with nervous anticipation. He’s got to have a rest soon or could risk burnout.”

    Another interesting question: will or should referees give Rooney extra protection given this “common understanding” of his importance for the English team? And what would happen if some hard tackling defender injured Rooney thus dooming England’s chances at World Cup? Similar to what Birmingham City did to Luca Modric by breaking his leg and pretty much taking Croatia out of World Cup qualification. Will there be a “not that kind of guy” forgiving talk again? Or any allegations of conspiracy should it be some foreign player who did that tackle.

    1. Andrei,

      I may not be the most qualified man to answer that question given that I’m a United and England supporter. If some “hitman” defender intentionally took out Rooney, well, if that defender applied his trade in England, I’d imagine his life would be a living hell for quite some time.

      Croatia, like Turkey (which I mentioned in an early comments section) are a team/country I’m upset won’t be participating in the Finals this summer. They have fantastic players and fantastic support, not to mention one of the best kits in world football.

      Thanks for the feedback

      1. Then I will ask you as United and England supporter: is Rooney peaking too early? United needs really strong finish if they want to retain PL title or win CL. And England needs Rooney in the top form late in June – I think they can qualify from the group even without him. Cristiano Ronaldo in his best season for United in 2007/2008 looked like his form was on the slide down at the end of the season and was pretty much no-factor in Euro-2008.

        1. Is he peaking too early? No.

          I truly believe the form we are seeing Rooney in this year is the form we should expect from him for the next few years and possibly for the rest of his career.

          He truly is a world class talent, but yes England will need him at top form if they have any hopes of reaching the later rounds of the WC and or the final.

          The purple patch Rooney is on right now is not a phase. He’s simply fulfilling the potential he’s shown over the past few years while in Ronaldo’s shadow.

          Also, in regards to England’s chances, the three lions will need another proven goal scorer. Rooney will get goals, but England need that something extra, preferably from midfield pitching in 4 to 5 goals over the course of the WC.

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