Wayne Rooney’s fall from grace has been an incredibly hard watch.
We’re watching one of the finest players England has ever produced suffer right in front of very eyes.
Those fans who once cheered his name are now demanding his benching. A recent poll found that over 99 per cent of Manchester United supporters want Rooney axed from the first team. How’s that for support.
Article continues below
It’s easy to blame father time for Rooney’s demise. At the age of 30, he can no longer dictate a game of football he once did.
Yet Lionel Messi is 29 and he remains at the top of his game. Cristiano Ronaldo is 31 and he’s coming off the back of a season in which he scored 51 goals.
Rooney’s manager, Jose Mourinho, has admitted that negative fans are to blame for his poor performances, which started upon Rooney’s return from England’s 1-0 win against Slovakia in their World Cup qualifier.
“Honestly, I think there was a Wayne before the Slovakia-England [game] and a Wayne after the Slovakia-England [game],” said Mourinho, per the Telegraph. “And I am not blaming Sam [Allardyce], not at all.
“I am blaming the people that after the England-Slovakia [game] were, in my opinion, too strong with somebody that is a very important player in the history of English football, is the captain of England, has the record of goals [scored], is almost the record [holder] of matches [played].”
Rooney's a big boy
Mourinho, who will look to avoid a third-straight league defeat against Leicester City tomorrow, added: “I think it was too much but I still think, a big boy like he is, he has to face it in a strong way. That’s what he tries every time. When he is on the pitch he always gives 100 per cent, always.”
The numbers prove Mourinho’s assessment to be correct. Rooney hasn’t scored since that win in Slovakia, while he managed one goal and three assists in the four games before Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge of the Three Lions.