Is Criticism of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney Really Justified?
Since Manchester United’s opening game of the Premier League campaign, one player has attracted large pockets of criticism that to my mind is baffling. While it was clear from his lackluster display against Everton, Rooney isn’t yet 100%, but can all the criticism of him be justified? Rooney, after playing two matches during England’s Euro 2012 campaign, did not get the opportunity to enjoy a full pre-season. Therefore, if he looked a little off the pace in the opening games, is it really that surprising?
For years, Rooney has carried the burden of Manchester United solely on his shoulders. Certainly the club would not have surpassed Liverpool’s 18 titles had it not been for his brilliance — his goal against Manchester City my case in point. However, the deluge of criticism he has to endure on a regular basis is baffling. Scoring 27 goals last season has not earned him a little latitude at the beginning of this campaign, which is just astonishing. In defense of Rooney he always puts the team first when he plays and wherever he is designated to play. I can remember many occasions where he has been played out on the wing, which is just a waste of such a precious talent. During the 2009 Champions League Final, he was played out of position and failed to perform. Is this really his fault? Certainly some of the tactical decisions made by Sir Alex over the last few years have escaped examination; Chelsea at home 2010 and Man City away 2012 were both games where his tactics cost United two Premier League titles. But those examples have never garnered the attention they deserved.
The arrival of Robin van Persie is something that should bring out the best in Rooney and not lead to his departure. Clearly the Dutch striker is one of the world’s best and the opportunity to play alongside Rooney is something all football fans should be eager to see. After his untimely injury on Saturday, many pundits have declared that Rooney may not get back into the team when fit. This is complete rubbish. The exciting addition of Shinji Kagawa will also bring a new dimension to United’s play and crucially will ease the immense burden Rooney has been carrying since the departure of Ronaldo in 2009.
Nobody can question Rooney’s commitment and desire to play for United. And the contract negotiations in 2010 were about a player signing arguably the most important contract of his career, needing to be sure United were heading in the right direction. Having relinquished the Premier League title to Chelsea months before, Rooney was entitled to ask questions of United’s ambition before tying himself to the club. What other player with the ability of Rooney will you see clearing shots off the line and winning headers in his own box? Simply put you wouldn’t see any other 27 goal Premier League striker doing such work.
Wayne Rooney is a player that excites when he plays and his contribution to United has generally been terrific. Yes, I will agree he needs to reemerge from his injury in better shape, but seriously what planet are you living on if you are advocating his sale? Wayne Rooney will be one of the main reasons if United are to reclaim the Premier League or claim European glory this campaign. You can be certain of that.