Gary Neville reveals how Rooney can make fans remember his 'greatness'

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While Manchester United extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 18 matches with a 3-1 win over Middlesbrough on Sunday, Wayne Rooney was more than likely sat at home putting his feet up.

A scenario that has occurred all too often this season for the Red Devils' captain.

Of course, in this particular instance, Rooney's absence was down to injury but even when he has been fit, minutes on the pitch have been hard to come by.

After being the first name on the teamsheet for so many years, Rooney has taken up a rotational role under Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford this season.

He has still made 30 appearances but there has been constant speculation surrounding his future at the club throughout the campaign.

At 31, Rooney will still feel like he has a few more years in him yet but may require a fresh challenge elsewhere.

Despite achieving so much and breaking so many records for club and country, there has been some in the football community who still feel Rooney hasn't reached his full potential.

And Gary Neville thinks there is only one way Rooney will receive the appreciation he deserves - by retiring.

The Sky Sports pundit thinks fans have forgotten Rooney's previous success in the wake of the current difficult campaign.

"He is going through a period of his career where obviously the performances and appearances aren't the same as they were," Neville told Omnisport, as per The Mirror.

"People tend to forget what happened previously.

"All he needs to do is retire and all of a sudden everybody would remember the greatness of him.

"We are seeing it with [Arsene] Wenger, Rooney, Steven Gerrard, you see this approach towards them and then they retire and people respect and enjoy what they've seen for the last 15 years.

"He will get the credit he deserves eventually because he's had a magnificent career. He deserves a tremendous amount of credit for what he's achieved in terms of club and country appearances, goals, commitment and leadership. He is just going through a natural period that most players do."

Neville's retirement suggestion might be a bit extreme but he might have a point.

Only once people realise that a player or manager's time is coming to an end do they reflect on exactly what they have achieved.

Five Premier League titles, a Champions League, an FA Cup and three League Cups certainly isn't a bad return for England's leading goalscorer.

But such is the nature of football, Rooney may find that the public's perception of him will only change once he hangs up his boots.

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Gary Neville
Manchester United

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