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Carrick Slated… But England Need Rooney

Following England’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Spain, Michael Carrick, who was picked ahead of Frank Lampard in the centre of midfield, was on the receiving end of some harsh criticism.

In contrast, Wayne Rooney is being hailed as England’s saviour… again. I wonder how long it will last for this time!

A dispiriting night in Seville confirmed that Rooney is so important to England that he almost needs a preservation order placed on him.

England missed Theo Walcott’s high-speed sorcery down the right and Steven Gerrard’s drive through the middle. No question.

But it was Rooney’s absence that was felt most severely in Seville on Wednesday. Manchester United’s centre-forward loves the big stage, the celebrated opponents, the gruelling challenge.

Still maturing under Sir Alex Ferguson, Rooney is probably still three to four years from his peak, a welcome shaft of sunlight amidst the gloom spreading after the defeat.

On an evening when Spanish technique was rightly feted, it is worth remembering that Rooney could have controlled Xabi Alonso’s pass with the velvet touch shown by David Villa. He could have turned a defender as the Valencia striker did Phil Jagielka. He could have slotted that low shot home.

In a decent pack, Rooney remains Fabio Capello’s ace. He can create and finish. He can link up and lead the line.

Rooney’s phenomenal work ethic, although occasionally leading to tactical indiscipline as he chases too deep, remains an inspiration to others. He gets in opponents’ faces.

The strength of England’s World Cup ambitions may rest on the strength of Rooney’s sinews and bones. If the Merseysider rips another hamstring or, far worse, snaps another metatarsal, then England’s cutting edge will be blunted in South Africa.

Every United game from February onwards in 2010 will have Capello holding his breath.

A worrying pattern has emerged with Rooney: he seems to sustain his most serious injuries between spring and summer. Remember Euro 2004, the momentum draining from England against Portugal in the quarter-finals.

Remember the last World Cup, Rooney running on adrenaline and, eventually frustrated, being dismissed.

Rooney resembles a powerful case study for Ferguson’s fears that wholehearted players willingly sweat through the winter months, perhaps carrying a stress fracture that suddenly gives in February or March.

Hamstrings can occur at any time, from pre-season to May final, but metatarsals seem to stalk England internationals most from spring onwards (just ask David Beckham).

No wonder Capello and the most enlightened club managers like Ferguson seek a winter break. Sadly, the Premier League will not countenance a January pause because they generate such exceptional income from overseas broadcasters desperate for live action at a time when most sensible leagues are putting their feet up.

But if Rooney turns lame again, England really will limp into another tournament like a labouring bull.

It’s interesting to note that for United, Rooney scored in his last two games before the injury, against Chelsea and Wigan. In Rooney’s absence we have played six games, scoring fourteen goals. Whilst I think having Wayne in the team certainly gives us a lot more fight and determination, it is surprising to see that his absence so far has had little effect on our results.

The positive for us is that when he does return, something Ferguson is in no rush to do, he’ll be as determined as ever to do well for us. The results and performances should only improve… something I certainly am looking forward to!

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. cherry says:

    You see, I really dont understand where all this criticism of Carrick stems from. The whole England team was average. Carrick is accustomed to playing alongside the best players in the world( Ronaldo, Rio, Vidic, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney etc) so what do you expect. Carrick is no doubt one of our best performers at United since he joined from spurs, but this is not true for England simply because the bulk of England’s players are crap except those from United ( Glen Johnson and others).

    Carrick is probably the best passer of the ball in the league, but you can only pass it if you have it!!. England on Wednesday can not sustain possession for five seconds with out giving it away. What did lampard do when he was sent in? Nothing!! He was shite, Barry was just running all over the place like a headless Chicken, another shite. Not to mention Jagielka and United’s hero in Moscow, shitty JT.

    IT was men against Boys in seville, so let our player alone, after all he is a Eng Champ, European Cham and World Champ!!!!


  2. keano99 says:

    Well said cherry

    Fu*k england

    Gerrard, lampard, fabrigas their not fit to wipe his ass.

  3. Eujen says:

    next game rooney plays.
    ‘ he doesnt score enough goals’

  4. King Eric says:

    Spot on Cherry. How Tiny Tears is captain is beyond me.

    It was blatantly obvious for all to see that no other forward for England is fit to lace Rooney s boots.

  5. SULLY [South Africa] says:

    “Carrick is probably the best passer of the ball in the league” Costas, I respect your opinion but, with all due respect I dont agree with that. NOBODY in the world, never mind the league can match or surpass Paul Scholes’s passing technique and accuracy. Xabi Alonso is not that far off. ( make no mistake, I fuckin hate scousers though, but credit where its due )

  6. Saad says:

    Completely agree with Sully, Scholesy is the best and then in my opinion follow xabi alonso(hate to admit) and maybe deco(wen he’s in the mood)

  7. chenkothedevil says:

    I have no doubt about you cherry. You have say it all. MC is playing with the best players in this planeeeeeeet.

  8. macha says:

    Some players play better with no media attention or expectation, I think carrick is one of those, like scholes. Not saying he played poorly for england, he played alright in an average team. He had an average (for him this season) game against west ham (after he got the media attention & man of the match against everton).
    I guess after a couple of games people will stop talking about carrick and he will put in the performances.

  9. Mark Moore says:

    I used to support england but hallelujah brothers i’ve seen the light – fuck ‘em.

  10. AlexOfMancunia says:

    You can’t really expect him to put in the performance of a lifetime when playing in a midfield of Downing, Barry and Wright-Phillips against Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso!

    Fuck England, and fuck their “We need Rooney!” cries. They are always the first to fucking criticise him when he isn’t at the top of his game, when we all know he is the only quality forward England have. If the fucking In-Ger-Land fans can’t appreciate him when he’s playing then they can fuck off and stick with their Heskey’s and their Carlton Cole’s up front (compared to Villa and Torres up front for Spain).

    England are shite, and the FA and the media are cunts. If everyone hates us so much then I’d love to see how much they beg for our players to be back representing them if we didn’t let them.

    3-2 defeat against Croatia anyone? No United players in the starting line-up and England don’t even qualify for the Euros. HA!

  11. SULLY [South Africa] says:

    Sorry I was’nt addresing Costas, rather Cherry. My mistake!

  12. DarkDevil says:

    Yeah, we’ve been doing well without him so far but there are games we’ve played where I’ve felt that we needed someone on the pitch with the dynamism of Rooney. He adds another dimension to our game…its simple as that.


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