Wayne Rooney was up to his old tricks again last weekend, violently hacking at Stewart Downing during Manchester United’s win over West Ham on Saturday and being shown a straight red.
The Man United and England captain is no stranger to controversy, with a string of violent outbursts during football matches and a behavioural issue that has seen many try and fail to tame his temper. When he is on top of his game there is no doubting that Rooney is a great player and at times severely underrated, but he tends to be remembered and spoken about more for his bad temper and aggression than for his great ability as a player.
He has been up and down since he burst onto the scene as a teenage sensation at home club Everton, where he got himself a name for being a very promising and talented centre forward. But he has earned himself a bad name for his poor discipline record which has seen him accumulate six red cards and 109 yellow cards in 622 outings.
For all the criticism hurled at the player, a lot of support has been offered as well. A big part of the online community say that his bad tempered days are over and that the occasional act of heated passion on the pitch only strengthens the argument for him being a good captain, as it is important to show grit and determination and that can sometimes boil over to anger. The kick out at Downing which saw him sent off has been described by some as merely a last resort used in fear that the defenders would not have been able to deal with the impending threat of a West Ham counter attack, and the captain was doing all he could in his power to ensure the three points stayed safe for his team.
When you look at making comparisons with past players, a captain that springs to mind is Julian Dicks, who was a fan favourite at West Ham and arguably one of their best ever left backs. He is remembered only for the good that he did despite being aggressive and having a bad temper. He would often clash with other players and his tackles were of the eye watering variety. Yet nobody threw as much criticism towards Dicks when he played, despite him being so hard, angry and aggressive.
Is Wayne Rooney really that different to some of the old school players like Julian Dicks? Do we not find ourselves moaning when the likes of Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo or Luis Suarez fall down like a sack of potatoes at the slightest of touches? So why are we all making such a big fuss over the Wayne Rooney tackle on Downing?
Yes, it was out of place, aggressive and shouldn’t have happened. A red card was definitely the right sanction but, to read some of the things that are being said about Rooney just because of his previous reputation is astonishing. I miss the football of yesteryear when a crunching challenge was acceptable. When the men playing football were real men who would bandage their wounds and continue playing. I despise some of the money grabbing stars who call themselves football players these days who would be better suited to a role in TOWIE than a career kicking a football.
Rooney’s critics are merely encouraging the soft approach to the game and are making it worse. At least he is a proper player and a good captain.
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