Football

Wayne Rooney.

Jamie Carragher explains why Wayne Rooney is really a 35-year-old

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Wayne Rooney still has a long way to go if he is to reestablish himself as one of the world's top footballers despite his expertly taken goal against Swansea City on Saturday.

The goal, his third of the season, gifted Manchester United their first win in nine games and kept them within touching distance of Premier League leaders Arsenal.

But Rooney's form is still a cause for concern, especially with Euro 2016 on the horizon. Indeed, on current form, it is hard to see Rooney starting ahead of Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy at this summer's championships in France.

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And Rooney's future was a topic up for discussion on Sky Sports' Super Sunday with Jamie Carragher raising a very interesting point about Rooney's "mileage".

He believes that the Manchester United captain's early rise to prominence means he is actually much older than his age (30) might suggest. Of course, Rooney was a first-team regular for both club and country by the time he turned 18; a time when most youngsters are still in the youth ranks.

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The full transcript of Carragher's argument is copied below, but you can watch a video of it by clicking here.

Here is what Carragher said:

Age is just a number

"We have said before he was playing at 16, so, in reality terms he's maybe like a 33 or 34-year-old player.

"People talk about age, it's miles on the clock and it's games played. He must have played nearly 600 [club] games as a centre-forward, which is maybe not the same as playing in the position I did.

"I just think that battering from centre backs and the pressure that is on him, mentally as well, to play from that age of 16 — I think we are looking at a player who is getting to the stage of his career where I don't think he will be playing at the top level at 34-35.

Euro 2004: Croatia v England

"I just think he's been playing so long now that maybe it's 30 on his birth certificate but in terms of games played he's a 35-year-old player.

"I think for Rooney to answer his critics or show he is still the man to play centre-forward for Manchester United he maybe needs a run of 10 games — scoring maybe seven or eight goals."

Manchester United v Fenerbahce SK

Paul Scholes agrees

It is the same argument that Paul Scholes put forward in May 2014 when, once again, Rooney was struggling to find the back of the net. The former Manchester United midfielder suggested that because of his early start in football, his peak was likely to have been earlier than your typical professional.

Scholes said: “There’s a chance he’s worn out. Wayne’s peak may have been a lot younger than what we’d expect of footballers traditionally. Age 28 or 29 has been the normal ‘peak’. With Wayne, it could have been when he scored 27 league goals in 2011-12 when he was 26.”

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Topics:
Premier League
Jamie Carragher
Football
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

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