The Great Wall of Wayne

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League

Wayne Rooney

Some time back at a training workshop, the coach told me –“Surround yourself with positive people and get rid of the negative people, it will make you a better professional. I interact very little with those friends and colleagues of mine who have a negative personality, and look at what I have achieved in my professional life”. The irony is, last week I found out the coach has become bankrupt.

I disputed what he said then and I do so now. For in life, you need a mix of the positive and negative voices to grow further. There is no point in having people cheering for you even if you are going down the wrong path and just as there is no point in attracting needless criticism when you stand vindicated.

The ideal match is a mix of cheer and criticism that is the balance you need to grow in life. Whether you are successful or not depends entirely on you.

The reason for all this philosophy is that, it has a certain link to the Wayne Rooney saga that has been unfolding for the last two months. I have been part of some furious debates with United fans regarding the future of Rooney.

Some are rooting for him, others want to get rid of him. I hope for the sake of Manchester United, both Moyes and Rooney take these cheers and criticism into account before taking a call on the latter’s future. So first let’s start with the cheers and then go with the criticism.

Wayne Rooney, if fit and on form, is up there with RVP as the best striker in the Premier League. If those two play a full season together, that’s 50-60 goals guaranteed.

Add to that the numerous assists these two create plus the superb corners and free kicks and lo behold, you have a title winning strike-force. That is a big advantage over the other contenders.

If Rooney goes, United lose half of that advantage. Say all you want about defence and midfield, but as Sir Alex Ferguson has proven again and again, the Premier League is often won by the best strike duo.

Add to that the tactical flexibility that Rooney provides in CL games, which allows United to play an extra man in the centre of midfield. Not to mention his 100% commitment on the pitch, his ability to lift the team especially by taking deeper positions to get the ball when the performance is flat and let’s not forgot he is only 27 years with a lot of good football left in him. A fit, in-form and a committed Rooney will deliver trophies for Moyes and help ease the pressure on him.

There are three important words I have used in the above paragraph – fit, in-form, off the pitch committed.

These are strong words that both Wayne and Moyes need to look at. First things first, SAF said Rooney wanted to leave, maybe that was something that had happened in the heat of the moment (they are both feisty characters!). SAF is gone now, but think for one minute why the Greatest Manager of all time seemed fed up with player at his last press interaction, think why did SAF never consider Rooney an influential figure on the pitch?

Surely, it was his now-all-so-visible suspect temperament off the pitch.

Did SAF think that Rooney didn’t live up to his expectations despite getting goals and assists regularly, and hence, was disappointed by him? Possible, Wayne does score in batches so his final statistics can get a bit skewed in the end or maybe SAF was fed up with Wayne’s fitness issues (he has never gone a full season without injury like Ronaldo).

But Moyes, is in charge now, and Rooney’s public outburst on one statement regarding his role doesn’t bode good news (the” angry and confused” statement was no tabloid imagination).

If you have a problem, sort it out internally. By letting the world know, Wayne is not helping his chances to stay at Manchester United. And if he is so interested in discussing things out in the open, why hasn’t he come out and expressed his desire to stay publicly (his manager has).

Not just the fans, but even his fellow players will want to know that they are training besides someone who is committed to the club just as much as they are.

Wayne can also not have the kind of stop-start campaigns he has been having. He has fitness issues that he needs to sort out (his current hamstring is a case in point). He, of all people, should know that he is one of those rare people whose form and fitness go hand in hand.

The most worrying aspect of all this is, if Moyes has a bad start to the season and the Wayne saga pops up again, United’s season could be in big trouble. If Wayne ends up being a bad apple, it’s best to let him go.

So, in the Great Wall of Wayne, we have cheers on one side and criticism on the other. No player has ever divided opinion among United fans like Rooney has in recent times and I only wish no player ever does, for that will be in the best interest of Manchester United Football Club.

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