Wayne Rooney is enjoying fabulous form for Manchester United, as he usually he does during this time of year. Whilst his goals are an obvious indicator of his great form, and what is picked up in the press, it’s his all-round game which I’m most impressed with. He’s at the centre of everything, the Midas touch at its finest, creating great chances for himself and his team mates.
Rooney is now one goal away from 100 in his club career, a remarkable feat for someone who is still just 22-years-old, but really, it should be more.
Even when Rooney isn’t scoring, those who watch him regularly will see the massive impact he has on our team. In the five games we lost last season, Rooney was absent for four of them. In the fifth, he scored the equaliser, before being subbed off through injury, at which point United went on to lose. There is no denying he is hugely influential for our team, whether enjoying a goal-run as he is at the moment, or otherwise.
Before getting too deep in to this, it’s important to note that Rooney has already surpassed the 100 goal target. His official stats read 7 goals in the past 6 games, however, he’s actually scored 9 in 6. There was nothing wrong with the goal he scored against West Brom on Saturday, which was scrubbed off for a non-existent foul, and Rooney was clearly onside when his goal against Celtic was ruled out last night.
However, it is Rooney’s injuries which have held him back. Just as he starts to reach peak form, he tends to suffer from that reoccurring metatarsal injury. This sees him miss weeks of the season, then even longer on top of that once he’s returned to recapture his form. He has often been criticised for not reaching his potential set out for him in 2004, yet is it any wonder when he spends chunks of practically every season on the sidelines.
In 2006-2007 he was relatively injury free, playing in a total of 55 games for the club. During this season, he was the 4th highest scorer in the Premiership, with the 3rd highest amount of assists. He was behind 25 goals that season, with Cristiano Ronaldo the only player ahead of him in the league, scoring and assisting a total of 30 goals. He was 20/21-years-old then. Can you imagine the records he’d have for goals and assists had he managed to play in nearly every league game in all the seasons he’s spent at United?
In July, Pele had a pop at Rooney, claiming he hadn’t achieved the great heights predicted for him since 2004. The people who criticise Rooney in this way obviously don’t take in to account the injuries he has, which not only rule him out for parts of the season, but mean he isn’t up to scratch for some time after returning.
I had a look at Rooney’s stats since he joined United, which clearly slowly that with every season at the club he has improved. When looking at his goals and assists, as both are vital parts to his game, we can see how many goals per game on average he was responsible for. In 2004/2005 (18-years-old) it was 0.5 goals per game he played in, 2005/2006 (19-years-old) it was it was 0.7 goals, 2006/2007 (20-years-old) it was again 0.7 goals, and in 2007/2008 (21-years-old) it was 0.9 goals. So far this season (22-years-old), including the Champions League as well as the league, he’s played in 10 games, scored 5 (7) goals and has 3 assists. That’s an average of 0.8 (1) goals per game!
If Rooney makes it through the season unscathed, this truly could be the season the press have been waiting for. However, I do say this with some trepidation, not wanting a case of ‘famous last words’ on my hands. November 7th was when we lost him last season and I’m desperately hoping his current blinding form isn’t interrupted by another injury.
Hopefully I’m fretting over nothing though and the Wayne Rooney this country has been waiting for will show himself fully this season!
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