Wayne Rooney has returned to his boyhood club Everton and has ended a 13-year association with Manchester United. During his stint at United, he captained the club, made 559 appearances, scored 253 goals. He also won five league titles, an FA Cup, three League Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and a Club World Cup.
He was named PFA Player of the Year in 2010, was twice the Young Player of the Year, and three times was named in the team of the year. But was he truly a Manchester United legend or is he unfairly not loved by Manchester United fans?
Cristiano Ronaldo had a comparatively shorter United career to Rooney, but the fans in the Red half of Manchester seem to love Ronaldo more.
During his time in United, Wayne Rooney won more trophies at Manchester United than Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best, Denis Law, Eric Cantona or Cristiano Ronaldo. He scored more goals than them. He played more times than any of them.
But, he has not been loved to the level in which he deserves. There is always some sort of more affection for the other legends.
His public attempts to leave United especially the first time in October 2010, when he accused United of “lacking ambition” must have left a stain. Maybe it is the sense of unfulfilled potential.
Whatever the reason, it is unbelievably harsh and not fair for the Rooney.
However, it may take years and years before any newcomer arrives at Old Trafford and creates the legacy Rooney is leaving behind.
Played out of postion?
Wayne Rooney scored his 253 goals for Manchester United
Michael Cox, editor of Zonal Marking and has recently published a book called The Mixer, which studies the tactical history of the Premier League.
Cox said, “Rooney is an interesting player in a tactical sense because he has struggled to find his best position. He broke through as a number 10, a bit like Paul Gascoigne. He was determined and had a powerful running style but he did not have the tactical discipline like others would in that position. And yet his best season was the 2009-10 campaign, when he played as an out-and-out striker and scored lots of goals – 35 in all competitions.”
In recent years, he has lost his pace and speed. He even had to drop into midfield. However, he has not taken to that role because he does not have the mobility to play there. Becoming the club’s top scorer is no small achievement. The same at international level too.
Rooney might not be in top 10. He did not dominate the league like the other players and there was one particular season where Rooney won United the title. Rooney’s peak is hard to nail down.
The signs were there from the very start that Rooney could be a legend at the club. In his debut game, he scored a hat-trick against Fenerbahce in a 6-2 Champions League win.