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Wayne Rooney: 100 and Out?

14 Nov | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Wayne Rooney: 100 and Out?

Pressure maketh the man, no matter how long it takes

99 appearances. 43 goals. 17 assists.

Barring a twist of fate, Wayne Rooney will receive his 100th cap when he leads England out against Slovenia at Wembley tomorrow night. There has been plenty written this week relating to Roy Hodgson’s misquote that he is ‘worried about Wayne Rooney’. The question really should be, is Rooney more worried about us?

“I think it’s a bit sad that the country is so Wayne Rooney obsessed”. Roy Hodgson’s comments after England played Peru back in June are symbolic of the divisive effect the Liverpudlian has on the national conscious.

England are defensively suspect? Blame Rooney.

England aren’t fluent enough? Blame Rooney.

England can’t retain possession? Blame Rooney.

The United captain’s performances for his club have not always translated to the international stage, that much is for sure. But far too often supporters have made him the hero and the scapegoat. The argument that he is our most talented player does not remove the need to support the team as a whole, and each individual within it.

Raheem Sterling was, rightly or wrongly, vilified for daring to ask his manager to put the needs of the team before his own. However, if he has a barnstorming game against Slovenia, fans will surely be raving again. With Rooney, even when praise is laid at his feet, there is a feeling that the fans and the media are simply waiting until he has a poor touch or bad game to resume their criticism on social media or in the papers.

With all of this, is it such a surprise that Roy Hodgson raised concerns about the long term effects of the captaincy on Rooney’s mental health? Already the man under closest scrutiny, how much more pressure will be applied by the armband?

Well, perhaps there is another way to look at it. Maybe Rooney has reached the tipping point with the fans. When Steven Gerrard retired after the World Cup, who was going to replace him as captain? It seemed logical, the perfect fit. Surely the person who has been dealing with the expectation and pressure this whole time, would now be able to cope with it on an official, leadership basis.

There’s been nothing to indicate this isn’t so. Have you seen England play in the recent Euro qualifiers? Played 3, won 3, scored 8. They have demonstrated some damn good football under his leadership recently, and as injuries ease they’ll only play better. Remember Rooney’s own famous quote? “Nice to see your own fans boo you”? After 100 caps, he has weathered the pressure and earned the right to lead his country with the support the armband should entitle.

He’s no Bobby Charlton, but he’s the best the Three Lions have got.