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.

11 thoughts on “Is Criticism of Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney Really Justified?”

  1. I absolutely think it’s been justified but interestingly enough, I think not all his own fault.

    Rooney has been badly out of form now for a year or so. His scoring record last season was good as he finished well by season’s end, but his numbers were helped by his position as penalty taker and a somewhat drop in form from other goalscorers such as Chicharito and Berbatov.

    The problem with Rooney is his lack of attention to getting better. Defenses have adapted to his talents and in many cases he faces two defenders which makes life difficult for him. He has been terribly overrated in terms of his footballing skills. His first touch is poor and his passing has become even worse. When you lump all that together, decline is inevitable.

    As any professional or world class athlete will tell you, you have to strive for improvement. Rooney has become lazy within himself. He believes that he is good enough while everything around him has improved. His injuries continue to dog him and will not go away, but all footballers deal with that, some better than others.

    Where I think Ferguson has failed him is that he has continued to play the man when truthfully, he should have been benched. Benching at United is sometimes hidden behind “platooning” of the squad so the effect is minimized, but Ferguson has thrown him out there on the field when honestly, he had no business being out there.

    I was a fan and now I’m a serious doubter. I don’t think he’s United’s best player anymore and certainly not England’s.

    He has some bridges to rebuild.

    1. I Very much agree with all of this. I also think his attitude to the team is often poor and he is not a great example to younger players on the team. My theory has been that his physical make up caused him to peak a couple of years ago and it’s downhill from there. He gains weight more easily than many soccer players so has to work harder to stay in shape.

  2. I have 2 agree with this !!!! And the comment above is so wrong its so hard 2 score from peniltes so please think before u comment!!!

  3. Agree with soccer Limey. People nowadays love to use statistics which seldom tell the full story. Is 27 goals in a season enough to warrant a place in the united team? I would say so but 20 goals wasn’t enough for berbs the season before and this shows that sir Alex expects more then just goals from certain players.

    I think the criticism is very much justified. While it might of been missed on British tv, it was highlighted in Ireland where they showed several examples of Rooney losing the ball in a lazy manner that had nothing to do with fitness. Worse still they highlighted his desire to track back was certainly non existing which again isnt down to fitness, it’s down to application.

    Rooney is rightfully judged at a harsher level then most players because he has shown how good he can be in the past. I don’t believe he has shown the same appetite or application for the club for sometime. He hasn’t progressed into a much better player in over a year and a half which is Dissapointing. In truth his performances have not improved. Saying that he has been dragging united to success is a lazy comment. The same was said of Cantona, ruud and ronaldo . It is more that if sir Alex makes you a focal figure which the team is built around, you will score more and inevitably be more important to the team.

  4. well either way, no one can really judge him as he will be benched due to injuries for just over a month so this argument for now is moot.

  5. Rooney’s Chickens are coming home to roost. I was always surprised when United/Ferguson kept him after his little threat to leave. In the past Ferguson wouldn’t let any player be bigger than the club. With the arrival of RVP and no ‘big clubs’ want Rooney (at least according to the press), he’ll be benched more than ever then sold.

    I certainly feel the injury he picked up is the best bit of news for England. I think England played better without him and his walking straight back into the team was a mistake, I’m glad he’ll be missing (for a while at least).

  6. Rooney is, to me, still the best player in the league. Moving him to a more CAF is going to be unleashing a hurricane with RVP and Welbeck/Hernandez and Kigawa.

  7. let me see here unprofessional out of shape wants new contract although still under contract.still surprised SAF did not move him when he had his money grab.sell him in the next transfer period.

  8. Wayne Rooney hasn’t been the same player since his transfer request and the subsequent 200K a week he was offered by UTD. Not only that he is significantly out of shape. SAF didn’t make his recent comments out of the blue.

    It looks like he is going through the motions. SAF went and got RVP because now he can bench Rooney without significantly weakening his team. Last year he tried that and the team looked awful. With RVP and Kagawa, it can be argued that Rooney wouldn’t be sorely missed if he wasn’t in the XI.

    Rooney is a very good player but world class he is not.(ATM)

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