With Wayne Rooney recently signing a record breaking contract with Manchester United people have more reason than ever to expect great things from him. When he exploded on to the scene as a teenager everyone in England took note. His potential could not be over estimated and everyone was excited about what he could do for club an country in his career.
It has been more than 10 years since then, so what do people think about his achievements so far?
I think there is a sense of disappointment for some when you think back and remember the fearless juvenile who took on the best defenders in the world like they were his mates on the street. He was only18 years old when he produced his best tournament performance for England. However, he could surpass his 2004 displays in Brazil this summer.
With Manchester United he has won the Champions League as well as five Premier League titles, but there will always be those who think he could have done more. He developed alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and at times Rooney seemed hampered by this, rather than urged on. The chemistry on and off the pitch was good (for the most part), especially in the 06/07 season, where Ronaldo transformed from a show pony to an world class player. But from then on, while Ronaldo continued to improve every year, Rooney has grown into a more inconsistent player. Inconsistent, but of undoubted quality.
Consistency is the key problem for Rooney because at his best he is such a special footballer. His form comes in peaks and troughs. Outside of England he is considered without doubt to be a world class talent. This might be because of how harsh the English media is on their own players.
But a more likely reason is that onlookers on the continent don't see him every week, with his game under nowhere near as much scrutiny on foreign shores as it is in the Premier League.
He has had a lot of brilliant moments. His fearless volley against Newcastle, his brace in the 2007 Champions League semi final against Milan, where he stole the show from Ronaldo and Kaka. Even his performance in the 2011 final where gave an awful United side some kind of a threat against Barcelona. And of course his unforgettable overhead kick against Man City, where he dared even though he was being criticised weekly for under par performances (he even had a bad touch in the build up to that goal).
Rooney will always be a threat to the opposition, and a greater level consistency will make him even more of one. Unfortunately few international tournaments have fallen during one of his purple patches, but perhaps 2014 will be the year he delivers for England
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