There are fans that are enjoying Rooney’s form slump. They appear to be excited by every SportBible type update about how long since he scored away from home, or games since his last assist, or any of that stat porn stuff.
Thankfully I’m not one of them. I’ve loved him, I’ve admired him, I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt around all the transfer request rumours and so on, but when you look at the man who’s filling that United shirt currently, he’s not someone who fills us with any level faith or confidence is he?!
I don’t say that with a smile on my face, there’s no point to that. It’d be like celebrating your wife’s vow of chastity, you can pretend you like the fact that the back of the net is no longer being hit, but you know the longer it goes on, the more misery you’ll have to pretend to enjoy embracing as the barren spell goes on.
I have a reasonable mix of sympathy and anger for his current situation.
From a sympathetic angle I feel for him, his love of the game was used in to get him to play that unique role of box to box goal scorer. Other clubs would wrap their greatest hope of glory in cotton wool and protect them from any chance of harm as they look to use their leading man to guide them to glory, but once Wayne became that after the sale Ronaldo & departure of Tevez, instead of being treated more like a specialist forward there to change the games that mattered, he was used as paper to cover the cracks in a frighteningly thin squad as Sir Alex dragged a threadbare squad to glory in his final years as he played in all manner of positions to cover how the Glazers lack of investment had left the club lacking the strength in depth needed to compete in all competitions.
Despite that sympathy, there is genuine justification for feeling some anger towards the lad when you look at how he’s treated the body that is the tool of his trade. I refuse to do the whole Ronaldo comparison for how he’s evolved physically as he’s gone on to turn his potential into era defining statistics, but when you compare his hunger to succeed with Rooney’s the gulf between the 2 becomes huge, quite ironic when you consider how much more Rooney has won at United since Ronaldo joined Real.
Where Ronaldo has kicked on and looks like someone who could emulate the likes of Giggs, Scholes & Pirlo in playing at the highest level well into their late 30’s, Rooney looks spent already at 30, and for that he’s got to give himself a serious looking at in the mirror.
He’s been a daft lad; as soon as the season’s over he looks to live his life like a lottery winner rather than a gifted athlete. Drinking, smoking, toffee apples & all the rest, they’re not the things that a driven athlete does if they want to preserve their body to be able to prolong how long it’ll be in peak form for. They’re the things that we do, wage slave people, because we can, it’s our privilege of being of low importance to the machine we’re employed within, when you’re an essential cog in a global machine you MUST be more professional than that.
I live in the naïve hope that the man will come to the realisation that he needs to check himself, before he does indeed wreck himself, but I’m unfortunately lacking in significant belief that Wayne will find the motivation, or method required to reinvent himself as a major player who does the greatest of things on the biggest of stages.
If he can prove me, and the rest of his doubters wrong, and find a way of playing the game that allows him to be a significant force for us again it would be amazing, truly amazing!
Here’s to hoping that he does…