Former Manchester United defender Mike Duxbury says that Wayne Rooney’s achievements should be judged on their own merits, as the club captain closes in on Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal record for club and country.
Rooney scored his 43rd goal for England on Sunday but despite this, he faced criticism for his all around performance. This seems to be the trend for the forward, who is unpopular with sections of supporters at both England and United, but Duxbury believes that should he arrive at the record, at least domestically, nobody can have any complaints.
“I think the two are separate arguments because people look at the international records and there are a lot of great players up there, but as far as Manchester United is concerned, I can’t see how anyone can question what he has done,” says Duxbury. “He has played at the top level for ten years now, which is demanding enough before you even consider he’s done that for Manchester United. That’s an achievement in itself. But he’s scored important goals, great goals, and goals in Cup Finals. If – and you’d have to say, with time on his side, when – he breaks the United goalscoring record nobody can question it because it’s there in black and white. Whether or not he will be appreciated for it accordingly is another matter.”
However, Duxbury does feel that when it comes to England, Rooney – and others – are flattered by the company they keep. “Look at the appearance record and players like Billy Wright, Peter Shilton and Sir Bobby Moore and Sir Bobby Charlton… For me, scoring in World Cup Finals and succeeding in a tournament, those last two are the top so for a lot of the current players to be in and around their records isn’t quite reflective of their ability,” he says.
The other bone of contention around Rooney is whether or not he has realised his potential since bursting on to the scene. “If you were to be clinical about it you could look at the trophies and the records he will break and say that speaks for itself but you can understand what people mean when they say it,” admits Mike. “He’s still an important player and still scores goals, but has he been the player people thought he would become? It’s a tough one to answer.”
Rooney is suspended for Monday’s trip to West Brom, as United look to build on their back to back wins before the international break.