Wayne Rooney’s Impact On Manchester United’s Winning Season

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Wayne Rooney is one of the most well-known football players in the world, but it’s fair to say that he has been through a lot in the last calendar year.  There was the World Cup disappointment along with issues on and off the pitch.  But with all of the turmoil going on, the 2010-2011 season turned out to be a fairly successful season for Rooney and Manchester United.  The team has clinched the league title, played deep into the F.A. Cup, and has a date with Barcelona for the Champions League crown.  During that time, Rooney’s game has rounded into shape.  But, when we look back on Rooney’s career, will this go down as his best season?

In years past, when Rooney was out of the starting eleven, United struggled to score goals.  Not so this season.  Since the calendar turned to 2011, Rooney has played very solid football.  He has been deployed deeper in the formation, playing almost as a midfielder which has allowed him to act as more of a facilitator on the attack.  The bulk of the scoring for Manchester United has been done by Nani, Javier Hernandez, and Dimitar Berbatov.  This has allowed the Red Devils to become a well-rounded team that is not dependent on one central striker.

Rooney has had seasons in which he scored many goals and been towards the top of the league.  Take for example last season, he had thirty-four goals in all competitions, but United’s only hardware was the League Cup.  That would qualify as a good individual season, but not as successful in terms of team play. Even though the goals have not been there this season for Rooney, he is still one of the focal points and leaders for this current team.  This is different than in 2008, the last season that United won the Champions League.  That Manchester side was filled with stars and Rooney was an up-and-coming player.  In contrast, this year’s United are a workmanlike unit that is often spurred on by Rooney’s intensity and will.  Because of this, Manchester, who many experts predicted would not reach these heights before the season, have now made an unpredictable run at the Double.

Ultimately players will not only be defined by what they accomplish as an individual, but also what they do as part of as a team.  Take for example two players in Major League Baseball.  Alex Rodriguez will retire with just about every offensive record in the book, but to this point, he has been a part of only one championship team.  His teammate Derek Jeter has put up good career numbers, but he has been the leader of five championship squads.  When all is said and done, the public will most likely regard Jeter as the better all-around player because of how many winning teams he was on and how he played when the spotlight was the brightest.

To bring this back to football, Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo’s careers will be linked not only because they are two of the best players in the world at this time, but also because they are former teammates at United.  Rooney has stayed in Manchester and been on squads that have won multiple titles, while Ronaldo left for the money of Madrid.  Ronaldo has continued to rack up impressive goal totals, but the championships have been lacking at the Bernabeu to this point (other than a Copa del Rey win).  If these current trends continue, who will football fans consider the better player?  Both United and Madrid have star studded squads, but only Rooney has been able to get his side the more meaningful hardware.

Individual records and accomplishments are nice, but most players want to be known as champions because champions are remembered for lifetimes.  Wayne Rooney may go on to have better individual scoring seasons, but no United fan will ever forget what he helped create this season.  It is the stuff of legend. It is Rooney’s best season.

14 thoughts on “Wayne Rooney’s Impact On Manchester United’s Winning Season”

  1. “Rooney has stayed in Manchester and been on squads that have won multiple titles, while Ronaldo left for the money of Madrid.”

    Rooney is doing nicely money-wise at United after forcing the club hand early in the season. Let’s not bring this greed dimension because money high on agenda for both.

    1. Actually, United only won the title for the first time without Ronaldo this season. Until than this Premier League title, the only other silverware United had won without Ronaldo was the Carling Cup last season.

      Of course, United won the Premier League title this season basically by default after all other challengers fell by the wayside. Their 80 points and Chelsea and City’s 71 points were the lowest point totals in those positions in a decade.

      Meanwhile, Ronaldo’s Madrid have finished with 96 and 92 points the past two seasons in a comparable league in La Liga, only to be outdone by a once-in-a-lifetime dream team at Barcelona. Though they did manage a Copa del Rey this season — a more impressive achievement than United’s league cup last season.

      If Barcelona were an English side, I suspect United fans would be up in arms over the silverware drought since Ronaldo left for Spain, while Real Madrid would have won about everything in sight.

      1. Madrid this season has been Ronaldo or bust. And the blame is mostly on Ronaldo. He plays mostly for himself. There were a lot of instances this year where a teammate was a better option to shoot on goal but Ronaldo opted to shoot the wild shot instead.

    2. “Rooney has stayed in Manchester and been on squads that have won multiple titles, while Ronaldo left for the money of Madrid.”

      I second that Andrei – I have no idea what this writer is smoking. Ronaldo didn’t leave Manchester for money. As opposed to Rooney, coming off injury, scandal, disappointing World Cup AND out of form, decided to slag off his club and teammates as a sad ploy to get more $$$. I wonder if Rooney thinks his “not good enough teammates” had anything to do with him winning a 19th title and heading to a CL Final.

  2. “in 2008… Rooney was an up-and-coming player”
    By that point, he had been a key player in the England team for five years, had been at Man Utd for four years, had played in a World Cup and been the break-out start of Euro 2004…not sure if you can still call him an up-and-coming player in 2008.

    the championships have been lacking at the Bernabeu to this point
    Ronaldo has only been there two years (in an era where he’s competing against arguably the best club side of all time)…give the boy a chance.

    It is Rooney’s best season.
    Again, I’m not sure of that – if he wins the CL, then maybe you have a point (although you’d still have to explain why this season was better than 2007-2008, when they also won the CL)

    1. Add to that even without the title Ronaldo is still arguably the best player in La Liga. And Rooney couldn’t beat Gareth Bale this season :)

        1. That is why I have “arguably” clause in my statement :) This is a matter of personal opinion not based on any “official” award or recognition. After all Gareth Bale is “officially” the best player in EPL this season. And in my humble opinion Messi is not even the best Barcelona player. I’d take Xavi any day.

  3. rooney was carrying a injury nearly all season that why hes been off form he only scred 1 goal all season up until febuary and since feb hes scored 13 goals in 3 months thats good going and ronaldo nothing but a diving t wa t.hes a muppet rooney isnt greedy and is a team player and the best striker in the world i think personally so do alot of other people just imagine if rooney wasnt carrying that injury he would have got 30 odd goals this season aswell so stop hating

    1. I’m not sure we really know Rooney was carrying an injury, if so how did he magically get better when the team shape was changed ? Rooney has thrived playing a different role with Hernandez. I think the freedom he is given now, without having to be the scorer, suits him well though he’s still thrown a couple of poor performances into the recent run (for example at Arsenal)

  4. Rooney has been a different player this year once he came out of the doldrums regarding his personal issues, but I think that what goes a long way to explaining his return to form is that his role has changed at Old Trafford.

    I always felt that he never regarded Berbatov as a true strike partner as the Bulgarian’s work rate is horrendous, and I think Rooney believed that he was lazy. With Hernandez up there now, Rooney can fall back a little into that role that I see him playing more and more in as Paul Scholes’s career winds down – a goal scoring midfielder.

    He deserves great credit for turning his season around and we can only hope that he continues it through to Saturday. I don’t think I can stand another Messi Lovefest….!!!

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