Has this Man United hero underachieved?

As everyone is now aware Wayne Rooney is approaching his 100th cap for England, but has the Manchester United captain peaked already?

In the seasons of 2009/10 and 2011/12 Wayne scored 26 and 27 goals in the Premier League respectively – putting him second in the top scorers list in both campaigns.

Top goalscorers such as the England captain can quite regularly score hat-tricks, yet Rooney’s last Premier League hat-trick came on the 10th September 2011 against Bolton Wanderers. In that season he scored 38 goals in all competitions for England and Man United. But it’s been three years since Rooney reached these heights and one must now wonder whether we will see them again.

However, Rooney rarely starts in the de facto centre forward position for Manchester United these days. ‘Wazza’ was once a pure goalscorer who went into games with one target in mind – score as many goals as possible.

However, he has been moved further back for club and country, often playing as more of a No. 10. than out and out  centre-forward. Subsequently he is likely to get fewer chances per game and consequently score fewer goals.

Conversely, Rooney now sees more of the ball in these deeper positions and this allows the player to show off his passing range which has always been excellent, especially for a striker. Therefore as his goals tally decreases, his assists should see an increase – and that is certainly the case in the recent years.

In the last two seasons, Wayne has assisted 20 goals in the Premier League in 56 appearances, but only scored 29. So does this mean we have lost Wayne Rooney the goalscorer?

In his 99 appearances for his country, Rooney has managed to score 43 goals. But what about recent years? Well in England’s last four fixtures he has scored a goal in three of them, and he was also one of only two players to get a goal for England at last summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil. Not bad, even if he was the best of a bad bunch.

In recent seasons the England and Manchester United captain has taken a step back in positional terms, and that has led to him scoring less goals, yet assisting considerably more.

Wayne is still directly contributing a similar amount of goals when goals scored and assisted are combined. Perhaps he’s more of a complete player than he once was as he isn’t just trying to sniff out the next goal, but also creating for his teammates. He may well not be scoring as many goals but the stats show that he is still very important to both club and country.