Manchester United lost five games last season. Wayne Rooney was absent for four of them. In the fifth, he scored the equalising goal, making it 1-1, before he was subbed off through injury, after which United conceded and lost.

Is this a man you’d want to leave out of your side? If you’re an England fan, apparently the answer is yes!

I happened to come across this article from The Mirror, where the answers to all England’s problems are revealed. The fact that every player wearing an England shirt looks like the shadow of the player representing their club in the Premiership is forgotten. It’s not all their fault, it’s Wayne Rooney’s! Of course.

Wayne Rooney is arguably England’s greatest asset, but I believe Fabio Capello must drop the Manchester United striker if we are to reach the 2010 World Cup. Rooney, 22, hasn’t scored for England for almost a year.

Rooney’s last goal for England was October 2007, the blinding shot in England’s 2-1 defeat to Russia, and had scored for his country just 4 days prior to that game too. He has since played in 5 matches for England. Friendlies against Switzerland, France, USA and Czech Republic in which he never played 90 minutes, as well as the weekend’s victory over Andorra. To say he hasn’t scored in almost a year puts a cruel slant on his recent efforts.

In 07/08, Michael Owen was the only player to score more goals for England than Rooney, scoring once against Israel and twice against Russia. Shaun Wright-Phillips, Peter Crouch and Frank Lampard (penalty) were all the 2nd highest scorers, alongside Wayne, with two goals. The fact that only one player scored more than Rooney last year for England suggests that maybe their problems aren’t down to him. Whilst playing nowhere near as well for England as he does for United, it is hard to ignore that his country plays nowhere near as well as his club either.

Cole’s impact coming off the bench against Andorra has taken his goal tally for England into double figures. But Rooney is suffering from a lack of confidence in front of goal and needs to decide whether he wants to play as an out and out striker or as a withdrawn No.10.

It would have been one goal for Cole if not for Rooney’s marvellous vision, which saw him play through a beautiful ball, nutmegging the defender, and leaving Cole with the simplest of toe pokes.

I imagine Capello doesn’t think Rooney ‘needs to decide’ anything, as where Rooney plays is down to the manager.

I think Collymore is trying to get his point across. “His last goal for England was in Russia 11 months ago,” he repeats. How does he end the article? “Rooney hasn’t scored for England for almost a year and I’d play Heskey up front on Wednesday.”

I know it’s only Stan Collymore, so why do I give a fuck what that wife-beater thinks? I’m just fed up with England’s problems always ending up on our players’ doorsteps.

Rooney can accept that he needs to do better for England, but which of those players doesn’t? Rooney would be my first pick of any team and England would be mugs to drop him. Whilst Collymore asks for Capello to be brave, what he really is looking for is the manager to be stupid, because you really would have to be to consider leaving Rooney out.

However, if him and Rio get to rest up this week in preparation of the dipper game, I’ll hardly be complaining!




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