Connect in the back of the net

You may be forgiven to think [that] Wayne Rooney is a washed up veteran with his best days on the turf well behind him.

Much of it is true as the forward- who doubles up as the skipper for both England and Manchester United- has been reduced to a regular starter…on the bench.

His second fiddle treatment at United- which Rooney has come to accept in the most nonconformist of ways- could with time be reflected in the England camp: more so with the resurgence of Theo Walcott, the individual brilliance of Marcus Rashford and the opportunistic Jamie Vardy leading the attack for The Three Lions.

The England caretaker manager Gareth Southgate, has stressed that Rooney is still his main man and as such he has no intentions of stripping him of his captaincy- as has Jose Mourinho, but with the ever compounding pressure to deliver, Rooney could just be reduced to a ceremonious skipper for both club and country.

Now 30, Wayne Rooney has without question grown in experience, stature and maturity.

In fact, he seems to be a far cry away from the Rooney of old whose combustible temperament knew no bounds, like a ticking time bomb that could go off without faltering.

Although the fire in his belly might have died a little- with the player himself admitting having kids has cooled him down by a long stretch- his biggest inconvenience has been the eventual and ineluctable aging.

Not endowed with the physical attributes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or even Francesco Totti, Wayne Rooney has found it hard to maintain his preferred number ten role, let alone being the lone striker upfront.

Be that as it may, Rooney can look back at his entire football career with nothing but pride.

Having already become England’s highest goal scorer with 53 goals, the striker is only four goals short of surpassing another one of Sir Bobby Charlton’s record [249 goals], to become the highest goal scorer in the history of Manchester United.

He may be a peripheral figure for the Red Devils, with Juan Mata at his best and Henrikh Mkhitaryan yet to unleash his best, but the 30-year old should hold his head up high for a career well and truly fulfilled.

 

Written by Brian Humphrey

Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum

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