Pele recently criticised Wayne Rooney, claiming that the young forward has never again reached the highs of 2004. This to me is a great example of someone who doesn’t watch Rooney week in week out. I’d argue that most people who do would agree that Rooney is the first player in our team I’d want us to fight to keep. We could sell Cristiano Ronaldo ten times over before I’d tolerate the club contemplating getting rid of Rooney.
However, whilst more than happy to praise Rooney every season because of the performances he puts in and the effect he has on our team, I, like many, would like to see more from him. I think that could be achieved fairly easily, if Ferguson keeps to his word about playing him position. The lad is a class act and as soon as he’s allowed to come in to himself, then there will be no further debate as to whether he’s really World class or not.
And Rio Ferdinand agrees!
“Wayne had to take the responsibility of leading the line on his shoulders – and he was awesome,” said Ferdinand. “In a few years we’ll look back and say at such a young age for a double winning team, he did well. I know the manager wants to help Wayne develop even further and I know he can get even better. I can’t believe that some people were going on about Wayne not having had a great season. He scored something like 15 goals and had 15 assists. A lot of players would be delighted with that. You might have some players scoring 25 and having two assists, but there’s a lot more to Wayne than scoring – he’s a more complete player.”
Rio reckons the signing of a proper striker, in the Ruud van Nistelrooy mould, could make all the difference to Rooney.
“I know the manager wants to see Wayne playing in his more accustomed position, just off the front,” added Ferdinand. “Maybe that will happen if we sign a striker and then you’ll see how dangerous he can be.”