Although England cruised to a 2-0 win on Malta on Saturday in World Cup 2018 Qualifying, the attention has again centered around Wayne Rooney in the media. Despite the midfielder actually playing very well, he has received unjust and unfair criticism about his performance yet again. The Manchester United captain was one of the best players on the pitch this past weekend, making more tackles (5) and completing more long balls (14) than any other player on the pitch and having the second most amount of touches (177) and passes (153). One of the most frequent criticisms of his game against Malta was his so called “frolicking around and making sideways passes” – Squawka among others. As mentioned he made more and attempted more long passes than any other player on the pitch. The next highest in that department was Henderson with 8! Among these so called sideways passes were also seven crosses, three of which that found the feet of a teammate, more than any other player on the pitch again (WhoScored?.com, 2016). I have often been skeptical of Wayne Rooney’s skeptics, but to say he had a bad performance against Malta when he was one of the best, most productive and most influential players on the pitch is outrageous.
There are few better passers of the ball in the world than Wayne Rooney. He’s up there with the Iniesta’s and Pirlo’s of this world and can control a game of football in exactly the same manner that those two men can. He is also one of the Premier League’s all time greatest strikers and at 194 goals he is the second highest goal scorer in the league’s history, behind only Alan Shearer. The Manchester United player has had a massively successful career with plenty of goals, assists, league titles, and player of the year awards that even some of the best players around the world could only dream of achieving. Although his goal tallies have died down in the past few years, the evolution of his game to a goal-scoring centre forward to a number ten to a regista styled central midfielder has shown exactly how versatile he is and how much class he has on the football pitch. Over the past ten years, what player has had a greater impact on Manchester United or England’s National Football Team? He’s a natural born leader and perhaps even England’s all time greatest player.
Wayne Rooney is one of the greatest footballers of all time. He is one of the best strikers and top goal scorers that the English Premier League have ever had, so it is so unfair that he has to receive so much criticism towards the end of his career despite not even playing poorly. The criticism of Wayne Rooney is unfair, unjustified and needs to stop.