Wayne Rooney seemingly slipped back into top form with an impressive hat trick against Club Brugge last week, but will football fans ever know quite what to make about the England captain?
He ranks among the top England players of all time and will shortly become the Three Lions’ all-time record goalscorer, as a couple of efforts against San Marino are more than likely. He also ranks among the top three goal scorers in Premier League history.
Only two men and 17 goals stand in the way of him becoming Man Utd’s all time record goalscorer, too. His record well and truly speaks for itself, he’s an outstanding player and goalscorer, yet he is much-maligned and isn’t really appreciated by fans.
Something which highlighted perhaps how poorly Rooney was playing for United recently was Louis van Gaal’s openness to playing Maraoune Fellaini as a striker against Club Brugge. Many wanted the Dutchman to try it out, too.
But that was how bad things had got, he was in woefully poor form and it was horrible to watch Rooney at times. Everything he had long been so good at deserted him and he looked a very average player.
Rooney does indeed create the debate as to whether he is the ‘worst good player’ around or whether we are watching the ‘best bad one’. Perhaps given his overall career record he should be considered as a world class player, but not a legendary one.
Rooney has, throughout his career, produced goals on occasion like those netted against Club Brugge, which is, perhaps, the most frustrating thing.
The first was a delightful dinked finish – certainly not the sort associated with a man desperate for a goal after going over six hours of football without one. But then again hasn’t that always been the way with Rooney? Form comes and goes but as they say class is permanent and Rooney has that. Van Gaal has even said the England man has the mentality to keep on coming back.
The second goal was eased home after a perfectly placed ball from Ander Herrera, the sort of service that he had been crying out for. And his three-goal haul was shortly rounded off with another effort – an intelligent run allowed Juan Mata to slip Rooney in before he tucked the ball home. Suddenly in a flash Rooney was back again.
All of the chances were of course presented to Rooney, yet he still had to tuck them away and Javier Hernandez’s late cameo showed that it isn’t as easy as it always looks – the Mexican missed a sitter and a penalty.
However no matter what Rooney does it does seem inevitable that when he calls it a day not everyone will be convinced about his talents.
A better striker will come along one day, however it hasn’t happened yet despite the challenges from the likes of Radamel Falcao and even Robin van Persie.
That is just why Rooney is so good. He will always keep on doing what he does best, and that is giving is all and scoring goals.