As a balding sixteen year old, Wayne Rooney burst onto the Premier League scene with a lot of promise. He was the subject of the English tendency to invest all footballing hope into one young individual. Like Paul Gascoigne and Michael Owen before him, the scouser had the world at his feet, but now it seems after all his success Rooney has gone stale, as his career whimpers to an uneventful conclusion.
Rooney represents for club and country, a former sense of optimism during the peak of his powers. Now it seems, after his 30th birthday that Rooney has nothing left to offer, aside from the occasional personal record by virtue of the number of games he will potentially play before he retires.
Steven Gerrard came to a similar standstill after his 30th birthday, as Liverpool underwent the worst period in his career, failing to impact the Premier League for four years between 2009 and 2013. Gerrard, despite Liverpool’s 2014 renaissance, failed to recapture the world-class form he enjoyed in his 20s, when he often singlehandedly won trophies for The Reds. In hindsight, perhaps Gerrard should have left Liverpool in 2009, as he still had plenty more to offer European football.
Man United have experienced a similar decline to Liverpool since the departure of Sir Alex in 2013, and Rooney has suffered the consequences. Perhaps Rooney is more likely to reignite his phenomenal footballing talent with a different team; otherwise he is risking playing out the rest of his career in an underachieving team.
Rooney is now captain for Man United and England, he is seen as an important part of the dressing room. This may affect his desire to move to another team considering the extra responsibilities a captain has to their team.
However, Rooney’s footballing ability should be his most important attribute to a team, he does not want to be playing for United based on the token of his captaincy, like Gary Neville or Roy Keane, towards the end of their United careers.
No matter what happens, these next few years are going to pass very quickly for Rooney, the question is, does he still have one more big move in him? A new challenge in Europe, away from the microscope of English football, may just give Rooney the confidence to become one of the best players in the world again.