The hopes and aspirations of a Nation weigh heavy upon this young man’s shoulders, yet he assumes this burden with a light step; millions of onlookers watch in awe at his footsteps of brilliance carving a path through the body of oncoming challenges thrown in desperation. I wish I could ascribe these words to Wayne Rooney’s form at the minute, especially when he acquires an England shirt. Alas I am merely left dreaming that in the near future Rooney will reclaim his talismanic position within the England set up that recalls performances he gave for Manchester United last season and even for England in Euro 2004, where he set the world stage alight and eluded to the potential player he would become.
It was evident from the World Cup in South Africa that something was seriously affecting Rooney. His overall demeanour was wrought with pent up frustration, visible in a display of petulance when he vented at a television camera, resenting fans for showing their discontent. The same fans that had traversed hundreds of miles and spent a considerable sum of money in order to be subjected to the poor performances that culminated in a humiliating defeat to Germany. The most recent game against Montenegro, which ended in a goalless draw, saw Rooney dropping far too deep into midfield and having received the ball would attempt a cross field ball or have to offload the ball as he was occupying a heavily congested area with only Crouch ahead of him. This suggests a player that is endeavouring too hard and is conscious of his failures, trying to rectify them. Rooney’s impatience portrays his youthful mentality, one that would do well to acquire some aspect of composure.
So where has it all gone wrong? Or better yet why has Rooney’s form suffered so much, so dramatically? There are a few suggestions which we may examine and assess. The first possibility being a lack of confidence, which for a forward is poisonous and can cripple players in front of goal, but goals are never hard to come by when applying your trade for Man United. Secondly may be the number of injuries that Rooney has sustained over his short playing career so far, but all professionals have to deal with this and none have been especially serious. Thirdly and finally, which I believe to be the crux of Rooney’s problem, is his psychological state at present. It has been clearly documented that decisions in his private life have been anything but sagacious and these have led to turmoil and disruption within his familial affairs. He has also publicly announced that he wasn’t in fact injured a few weeks back for Man United, when he was reportedly so. This was Sir Alex Ferguson obviously trying to protect the young lad when he was in a fragile frame of mind and would have been a target for abuse from opposing supporters.
What Rooney needs to clearly rationalise at this point in time is his attitude and the reconciliation of his private affairs with his professional footballing commitments. When the likes of Carlos Tevez announce that they’re having doubts over their commitment to football, it illustrates the pressure players are under. The difference is how they propitiate their peers, fans and detractors. Rooney needs to withdraw from insolent actions and release his frustrations playing football in a controlled manner, letting this cleanse whatever ails his consciousness thus freeing him from the shackles that bind him at present.