Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughRooney Needs To Get Back To His Best, Pronto! - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Rooney Needs To Get Back To His Best, Pronto! - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Rooney Needs To Get Back To His Best, Pronto!

For several weeks now, I have been questioning the form of Wayne Rooney. On Saturday against Swansea, he was selected alongside Chicarito in a 4-4-2 formation. Sir Alex went traditional United: solid back 4, 2 central midfielders, creativity on the right and work-rate on the left.

Rooney was upfront, which he says is his best position and with a partner who knows where the net it. I expected a goal feast.

Ok, it wasn’t a good team performance. When Michael Carrick is our best player you know it’s been a pedestrian game but we won, clean sheet again, job done and it was away from home. So I won’t dwell on the lack of passion, effort or creativity.

But I will dwell on Wayne.

Because I’ve been getting some pushback about my criticism of the boy wonder, I watched him throughout the game and I’ve some observations to make.

First of all, he is little to no threat. His efforts were tame, and without confidence, he favours his right foot like a reversed Ryan Giggs and so is so easy to push to his weak side. But when he first joined us he could shoot with both feet, what happened? Is this half a Rooney now?

Secondly his work-rate was poor. Yes he tracked back but when he did he was slow, half hearted and easily beaten. One run where he was at right back and just roasted in the corner for pace was sad to see. If you can run faster without the ball than with it, how can you get roasted by the man with the ball unless you are just slow, or don’t try? He didn’t try.

His passing was poor, time and again his passes were cut out, his accuracy was terrible yet he did a ‘Berbatov’ and waved his arms about and mouthed the fault was the movement of others. Really Wayne? I mean really?

His commitment was lacking. One case in point, an aerial challenge with the keeper, I saw him run, jump, clash and fall. Oh Wayne….is he hurt? Then the super slow motion and we all saw it….he didn’t look at the ball, he pulled out, and he didn’t really want it enough. Where was the devil that makes Wayne the threat?

And remember this was Swansea!

The world continues to compare Rooney with the best, that’s Messi. The difference is that Messi does it week in week out, when did Rooney last destroy a defence, and yes the fact you’re thinking about this for quite some time is testament to the fact it was ages ago.

His last moment of true genius was his overhead kick and that was back in February.

So what did he do well on Saturday?

Frankly, he did nothing. A few short passes apart he was totally anonymous.

In contrast Javier Hernandez scored the winner, ran his socks off, challenged where it hurt, got caught offside (like he is trying) and threw himself at crosses.

My final question and comment on Wayne. Twice he was free in the box for crosses and each time he didn’t break his neck to get level with the last defender, each time a sprint and a stretch would have resulted in a goal. He didn’t do it.

I hope he isn’t fit, I really hope it can be remedied by a physic, because if the problem is between his ears, or if he had faded like a chubby Fernando Torres to a shadow of the player of 4 or 5 years ago (because last season he only performed in the last few months), then perhaps we would have been better letting him go (to Manchester City?) last season.

When Wayne is at his best, nobody likes to see that more than me but right now he is a passenger, and he has an expensive seat. We can’t afford passengers when our noisy neighbours are so full of talent, and thank god for Danny Welbeck and Chicharito (and even Mame Diouf) because when Wayne plays like Dimitar Berbatov, we see his basic skill level and it’s not pretty!

Steve Burrows CBE @ifollowsteve

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