The former Everton-loanee believes that the 49 games that Rooney has played this season have taken its toll on the Manchester United striker. Rooney came off in the final Premier League game of the season against Stoke with a groin injury which has been troubling him for a few weeks. Despite Rooney having a great season scoring 34 goals in all competitions for Man Utd, he has arguably had to work a lot harder after the departures of Ronaldo and Tevez and this has made him the focal point of United’s attack.
Donovan, who will lead out his USA side against England when the sides meet at the World Cup on June 12th has said: “Rooney is a top player, in my opinion he is one of the best players in the world right now. But the other part of it is that he has played a lot of games and he is tired, he is probably worn out.”
The American added: “Injuries are a part of that, things happen when players are tired. When they just keep adding games to the schedule, it makes it difficult. Any time you come into a World Cup, because of the timing of it, big players who play a lot of games in Europe are coming right at the end of their season, so it is always an interesting dynamic how to balance that.”
Clearly what Donovan is saying is true, all England fans will be pinning all of their World Cup hopes on Rooney who will be feeling weary after a very long season with United, and if England are going to have a good tournament this summer then the 24-year-old striker will need to be firing on all cylinders. The best thing Fabio Capello can do is not to start Rooney in the warm-up games before the tournament, and give players like Darren Bent and Emile Heskey the opportunity to prove themselves. Then Rooney can come on for the last 10 or 20 minutes so he keeps up his match fitness, if Capello was to do this then it would be a win-win situation for England as it will enable Capello to see if Bent and Heskey are up to scratch, and most importantly it would give Wayne Rooney a much needed rest.
Adding to his comments about Rooney it seems as though Donovan is also trying to play some mind games ahead of America’s World Cup opener against England, he said: “Of course, there is more pressure on the English players, if we don’t do well in the World Cup, people care for a little bit. But if England doesn’t do well in the World Cup, it is absolutely devastating to their country, their families, to their people. That is something they live with, I don’t know if they look at it that way, but that is how I look at it.”
Again Donovan’s comments are correct about there being more pressure on England to do well in the tournament, but the USA have created some pressure for themselves as well by reaching the Confederations Cup final last summer. So Donovan is trying to divert the attention on his USA team, of which like Rooney he will be shouldering the responsibility of them having a good tournament.
England fans will be fearing that Rooney isn’t too exhausted to perform to the best of his ability this summer, but if he can reach the same levels as he has done with United all season then there is no reason why 2010 can’t finally be England’s year.