In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Wayne Rooney looks to offer his insight into the world of weight and hair loss. Now, you may think that these comments deserve front page on a women’s gossip magazine, but there is a genuine footballing message underpinning this interview.
One of the main debates surrounding Rooney is the issue of weight. Rooney by his own admission says: "I’m like most blokes, I put on a few pounds after a holiday." However, it raises questions as to whether a professional footballer should let this happen?
In Rooney’s interview with the paper, he continues his evaluation of his own weight issues by saying: "I’m not like Ryan Giggs, all bone and lean muscle." Although Rooney states that he likes to go to the gym at least 'three times a week', his weight continues to fluctuate.
This is a point proven by the man himself, who claims he was seven pounds overweight when he returned to pre-season training this season – “a few more pounds than expected.”
Is this disastrous for a professional footballer? Rooney thinks that in his position as a striker for Manchester United and England – it is.
“If I were a full-back. I could hide a bit, make fewer runs into the opposition half and get away with it. But as a centre-forward for Manchester United, there’s no place to hide.”
Although Rooney clearly recognises that weight is an issue as a professional footballer, he does not suggest it is not under control. He highlights Sir Alex Ferguson’s actions before the Blackburn fixture last season as a 'tough lesson' in which to learn.
Rooney, after a successful 5-0 victory against Wigan on Boxing Day, chose to go out for drinks after the match. It resulted in Sir Alex presenting the ex-Everton striker with a fine and dropping him for the following match against Blackburn - which they lost 3-2.
Wayne describes this as a 'desperate and helpless' day for him, one which he will not forget during his footballing career.
The footballing messages that underpin this interview consist of the need for players to manage their non-season dietaries, away from club nutritionists and doctors. There needs to be a large amount of trust and a strong relationship between club and player in order for this to be effective.
Rooney also offers an insight into the mockeries and 'mickey-taking' behaviour he was subjected to after his greatly publicised hair transplant. He described himself as being 'slaughtered' after he informed his Manchester United team-mates of his decision to undergo the surgery, choosing to inform them before sudden growth of hair.
"I knew that if I went on holiday with thinning hair and came back looking like Andy Carroll they’ll slaughter me,” he mused.
These admissions from the English star offer a supposed question: Are footballers under too much pressure to perform physically on the pitch, but also on their public appearance? Would Rooney have progressed with his hair transplant if he wasn’t featured on various media outlets on a daily basis? Possibly not.
To summarise this perceptive article on Wayne Rooney’s conduct, he does not represent the most professional of players off the field, especially when it comes to physical maintenance – "During the season, I don’t think there’s any harm in having a take-away now and then."
Is that such a bad thing, though. Surely everyone is entitled to enjoy the occasional bad meal, irrespective of their professional position. Providing Rooney can maintain fitness and form during a long, hard season, does it really matter. Who are we to assassinate this player's character.
Let's not forget that his effort and quality on the field of play is second-to-none and the longer it continues, the easier it will be for Manchester United to maintain their position amongst the highest echelons of English football. With 144 goals in 321 match’s man, it's hard to argue with a Saturday night takeaway.
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