What’s the Matter With? – Wayne Rooney’s England form
An attempt at solving the mystery regarding the Man Utd star's international shortcomings
England’s lacklustre performance in Poland has left a lot of supporters with the familiar taste of disappointment in their mouths. Roy Hodgson’s men were presented with plenty of ready-made excuses following the farcical postponement of the fixture which, to their credit, they didn’t use, but clinging onto a 1-1 draw against a far inferior team is unacceptable.
Despite this slip up, England remain at the Group H summit and are a massive 1/8 to qualify for Brazil 2014, yet they are in for a grittier scrap than their odds suggest, especially if Wayne Rooney keeps churning out the same level of dross as he did in Warsaw.
Fabio Capello once claimed the Manchester United man ‘only understands Scottish’ in relation to his inability to reproduce the brilliant club form all Premier League followers are accustomed to when sporting a Three Lions jersey.
Prior to Poland, he put San Marino to the sword, but they have a single professional footballer in their ranks and would struggle in a pub league. Normal England service was resumed last time out, however, as Rooney was arguably the worst player on the park.
He scored, but was incredibly fortunate to do so. His touch was so heavy it could have been likened more to a rugby player’s as opposed to one of the world’s elite, and he capped the performance with a comedic hoof over the bar from point-blank range, before trying to lay the blame with Danny Welbeck for a poor pass in classic ‘bad workman’ fashion.
His performances at the Euros were also straight out of his textbook of international underachievement after netting 35 goals for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men last term. Many would argue that he hasn’t done it for his country since his first major tournament – Euro 2004.
Rooney has notched 32 goals in 78 England caps – an altogether decent return – but has rarely dominated a game as he does for United on a regular basis.
So what’s his problem when pulling on an England shirt?
Some would argue it’s the added expectation of the entire nation who all look to Rooney to tear defences to pieces with his full-blooded attacking abilities, but that can’t be right. Being the main man at a footballing behemoth such as United comes with mountains of pressure which he revels in.
It’s not as if there’s an array of egos battling to be top dog in the England dressing room either; no one can hold a candle to Rooney in terms of quality and being the star player is nothing that has fazed the former Everton man in his Red Devils career to date either.
Furthermore, England have adopted a similar system to which Rooney thrives in at United, yet you would think he’d never played there in his life judging by his efforts in Poland.
Perhaps he just doesn’t have the same passion for playing international football as he does at club level, which is the case for a lot of fans, speaking on a personal level, who would much prefer to see their club win a trophy than see England win the World Cup.
The player would, obviously, dismiss this outright yet, if it’s not the case, the answer as to what’s up with Rooney’s dismal England form is a complete mystery.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date