Outstanding Rooney silences critics



Wayne Rooney’s bright performance for England at Wembley last night is vindication for the striker, who has faced some of the most vitriolic criticism of his career in recent months. The striker, who scored 34 goals last season, played a part in all four of England’s goals as Fabio Capello’s side ran out comfortable winners in London.

Rooney’s contribution to England’s 4-0 win over Bulgaria, from a deeper role than is customary when he plays for Manchester United, comes as the he develops match sharpness and fitness after injury and a lengthy summer break after the World Cup.

Indeed, while the critics wallowed in Rooney’s lengthy ‘goal drought’ few acknowledged either the serious ankle injury sustained against Bayern Munich in March or that the former Evertonian played no part in United’s pre-season programme. Rooney’s club colleagues played up to six pre-season matches; the striker only reached that figure last night.

Now injury free, fitness close to peak levels, and confident after an excellent performance at Wembley, the real Rooney can stand up, while his critics eat their words. At least that is the hope for United’s supporters.

From the wonderful chipped pass that led to England’s opening goal after three minutes, to the final ball that enabled Manchester City’s Adam Johnson to open his international account, creativity epitomised Rooney’s performance last night.

“It should be appreciated that this occasion liberated Wayne Rooney from the torpor that has overcome him since the spring,” writes the Guardian’s Kevin McCarra.

“He may not have scored, but the Manchester United attacker revelled in the freedom of the deeper role he had here and assisted, particularly, in each Defoe goal.”

So good was the striker that Sir Alex Ferguson must regret he cannot deploy Rooney in the deeper role and maintain a goal output at last season’s levels.

Not that Rooney’s media critics will evaporate; there is nothing better than the perceived failure of this generation’s best player to fill column inches in tomorrow’s chip paper.

Yet, for the most part Rooney draws positive reviews from Fleet Street’s capital-focused hacks. The Guardian, Telegraph and Independent, for example, rated Rooney eight out of 10 for the night’s efforts, with only the Sun offering a stingy seven.

Surprisingly, the country’s most popular paper waits until the 10th paragraph of its match report to mention the United striker, despite his central role in each of England’s goals. Others at least are more effusive in their praise of United’s number 10.

“There is still no question about the England player who can make almost anything seem possible with one stroke of his foot,” writes James Lawton in the Independent.

“Rooney did that when he delivered a sublime floating pass to the feet of Ashley Cole in the third minute.”

“Early in the second half his exquisite attempt to chip goalkeeper Nikolay Mihaylov was thwarted only by a fingertip. What could not be denied, however, was the growing reminder that Rooney’s creative powers can be exploited from pretty much anywhere he finds himself.”

Yet, sections of the Wembley crowed chose to jeer Rooney, as they had during England’s 2-1 friendly win over Hungary in August. Rarely tolerant of United players at the best of times, Wembley’s fickle supporters mirrored the country’s media in preferring to heckle rather than support England’s best through a difficult period.

No wonder Rooney’s predilection for frustration overspills more frequently in the white of the national team than at Old Trafford.

“One mistake drew boos from the crowd, but [Rooney] played a part in all four goals,” writes the Guardian’s Dominic Fifield, but “some of England’s best attacking play stemmed from his endeavours.”

The main beneficiary of Rooney’s creativity was Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defore, who grabbed the first hat-trick of a stop-start international career. Capello’s decision to deploy the United forward in a withdrawn ‘playmaker’ role, which has always suited the 24-year-old’s sublime skills, fully justified in the thumping result.

No wonder that the former West Ham United and Portsmouth player saved his praise for Rooney.

“When you play with a new partner it can take a bit of time for it to gel but Wayne’s a great player to play alongside,” said Defoe.

“He works so hard for you and, if you make the runs, he will find you. After I scored my second he said: ‘Now go and try to get your third.’ To have that from someone playing with you is fantastic.”

Even if the nation’s media is sometimes reluctant to swallow previously over-zealous criticism, then his colleagues more than make up for it.

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  • eddieTheRed

    Outstanding performance from England and from Wayne in particular, who was sublime. Let’s hope that a couple of good performances with England give him the fitness and confidence he needs to kickstart his season with United!

    By the way, congrats to Cory Evans for his winning goal against Slovenia; are you watchin’ Fergie? And two fingers to France, losing 1-0 to Belorusia; that’s what you get for sh**ting on Patrice Evra!

  • Faiz Khan

    I’m the sort of supporter never to dwell on the past so I want to see England progress.

    Rooney may not have scored but he was instrumental in everything good going forward for England last night.

    He looked at home in his ‘free role’ but for now, it will be back to leading the line in front of Berbatov next week.

  • Rooney the love rat

    Rooney is a love rat the dirty lil rat lol.

  • sidney

    Was I the only one who heard the England fans boo Rooney in the first half every time he lost the ball

    Wankers

  • ltel

    was probably colleen and the inlaws

  • danniitronix

    very good performance helped by the fact he stayed in the last third of the pitch, fat cunt lampshade wasn’t around to fuck things up in midfield and that it was bulgaria

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    he didn’t stay in the last third, he was often deeper than the midfielders

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    and he spent loads of time on the left when milner cwent wandering

  • sidney

    Aye, he was in midfield for pretty much all of the second half, sometimes dropping so deep he picked up the ball off the back 4 ala Scholes

    And he hit some class diagnal balls out wide ala Scholes

    Top performance, and the cunts booed him

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    sidney said:
    Aye, he was in midfield for pretty much all of the second half, sometimes dropping so deep he picked up the ball off the back 4 ala Scholes

    And he hit some class diagnal balls out wide ala Scholes

    Which is why I want him to take over for Scholes for United… he’s got all the tools Scholes has, plus he can tackle. He’s not quite the passer Scholes is, but few are, and he makes up for it with better energy.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    why give him shite defensive responsibility, him and nani are the only attacking threats we’ve got

  • sidney

    Aye, he’d have to do more positional work and pointless running if he was in midfield. It’d a waste

    I’d keep him up front but let him drop deep, as deep as he wants, to pick up the ball and play it

  • Bill

    This could be his role for United in coming years, he is the only player who could come close to replacing Scholes. He has the vision, passing and finishing ability. Hernandez with Rooney dropping off him could be the future.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    yeah what sid said, plus, he’s wayne, clearly hed try to do his own shite midfield work plus the work of whatever shitehouse is partnering him; fletcher, its that nonsense that stops managers playing gerrard in midfield regularly, they water down their own game trying to do the jobes of the shite surrounding them

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    herhandez doesn’t have a long term future at utd

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    why give him shite defensive responsibility, him and nani are the only attacking threats we’ve got

    The fact that he’s the best attacking player we have is a different argument.

    The fact is, Rooney is not a natural goal scorer… he’s not that direct, and ne’s not that selfish… he’s much more of a creative player who’s best assets are his energy, and his willingness to make goals for others.

    You don’t lose Rooney by playing him in midfield, you just get him more involved in the game.

    You talk about waste… Rooney up front on his own is a waste… and he doesn’t like it, that’s why he won’t stay there for long, if he doesn’t see enough of the ball… and before you know it, he’s back in our half chasing the ball, and leaving no one up front.

    I would build the whole team around Rooney, with two strikers in front of him, and the freedom to get forward.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    in the old days you’d want your best players in midfield where the action was and when everyone played 442, now everyones defensive and 451 bollocks you want your best or most creative players further forward in the final third where the damage is done, see fabregas for arsenal, xavi for spain sneijder for inter, and its the other reason liverpool have pushed gerrard further forward, I wanna see rooney off the striker coming short turning and driving at defences barging past them and either playing someone in with a moment of genius or smacking in a 30 yarder like he used to, clearly he can’t do that anymore because we’re not even good enough to play 442 anymore withs shite like fletcher and carrick and berbatov at the club, he was amazing when he had keane and scholes behind him and ruud ahead of him

    rooneys best attributes are his brain and his creativity, his energy used to be a bonus before fergie starting the process of turning him into kevin davies, it says a lot that its now the first thing you mention ffs, that’s what five years of lone striker shite, and manmarking shite portuguese left backs against porto in order to protrct oshea and about three straight seasons of left wing in a 451 ffsLKHFaffing

  • Bill

    “rip bri and gary coleman says:
    September 5, 2010 at 9:14 pm
    herhandez doesn’t have a long term future at utd”

    You clearly don’t know anything about football.

  • danniitronix

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    in the old days you’d want your best players in midfield where the action was and when everyone played 442, now everyones defensive and 451 bollocks you want your best or most creative players further forward in the final third where the damage is done, see fabregas for arsenal, xavi for spain sneijder for inter, and its the other reason liverpool have pushed gerrard further forward, I wanna see rooney off the striker coming short turning and driving at defences barging past them and either playing someone in with a moment of genius or smacking in a 30 yarder like he used to, clearly he can’t do that anymore because we’re not even good enough to play 442 anymore withs shite like fletcher and carrick and berbatov at the club, he was amazing when he had keane and scholes behind him and ruud ahead of him

    rooneys best attributes are his brain and his creativity, his energy used to be a bonus before fergie started taking advantage of the fact he’s a fucking brilliant player and would play anywhere for us to win and started the process of turning him into kevin davies, it says a lot that its now the first thing you mention ffs, that’s what five years of lone striker shite, and manmarking shite portuguese left backs against porto in order to protrct oshea and about three straight seasons of left wing in a 451 ffsLKHFaffing

    still a shit load of excuses – a bit like Capello, when the pressure is off, he can deliver but when it gets tasty he shat himself like his players, still I’m sure the likes of Spain and Germany are shitting themselves after this performance against the world power that is Bulgaria, LKHFfs.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    what excuses, he was shit at the world cup

    he’s no big game bottler tho

  • danniitronix

    true and false at same time I guess, games don’t get bigger that the WC but whether he was plain shit, bottled it or was injured, it is clear according to today’s media frenzy that Engurland’s world cup failure was caused by Rooney’s love of marly lights and dirty slags. Send him to the gallows, ffs.

  • sidney

    Rooney was fucking shite at the World Cup, but let’s put his performances in context; he was playing in an awful team that were devoid of ideas, creativity and expression. They were drab, dull, straight-lines, predictable, unhappy, shite, overrated, Peter Crouch… while the BIGMAN got above himself and attempted a coup to oust Capello FFS. And James Milner

    So in conclusion, a total fucking shambles

  • danniitronix

    exactly, let’s blamee the flood’s in Pakistan on Rooney’s love of paid for minge.

  • uncleknobheadforfucksake

    if only wed signed torres or benzema rooney would be the best player in the world

  • Alfonso Bedoya

    uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
    if only wed signed torres or benzema rooney would be the best player in the world

    If we’d have signed Torres. or Benzema… Rooney’d be a left winger.