Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Rooney Obsession

So the wound caused by the defeat to the Yorkshire filth is starting to heal with a very faint scar in place.

The reaction to the game has had United fans react in so many different ways..from total apathy to manic hysteria..this is the norm whenever the reds lose. Many have started to point fingers at individuals. Blog writers have started their autopsy on the young players of the squad, the older members of our team, and of course our very own current fan's pariah Dimitar Berbatov. It is human nature that when things start to go wrong we look for the easiest target and we go for the jugular. However, Ive always believed in prevention rather than cure...firefighting gets you absolutely no where. Ive read (for want of a better word) 'attacks' on Gibson, Owen, Berba, Anderson, etc etc...and I'm afraid to say they are all pretty hollow assessments as to why we are playing like a bunch of schoolgirls.

The one player that seems to skip under the radar though is a certain golden child who plays up front. The all action, scouse marauder, savior of English football...Mr Wayne Rooney. Firstly, i love Wazza as much as anyone. He is a modern United legend..and still only about 15 years old (don't be fooled by that receding hairline!) With Ronnie and Filthbag Moneysucker gone, he is without doubt our singular most important player..

..And that's where the trouble begins

Every Englishman and woman appear to have the obsession that no matter what, no matter how good or shit we are playing, that Rooney MUST MUST MUST play up front. And why is this? Its because..erm..he is..erm..a genius. And genius can do no wrong. Genius will always find the back of the net. The strange thing about the monster which is Wayne Rooney is that the weakest part of his game is his finishing and his general goal tally for a centre forward..yet the world and their mothers still insist that he plays up top.

I watch the boy wonder every week. On the telly its easy to assume that he is infallible. On the ball, turning at players he is excellent. Better than excellent at times! But what you don't see on the TV is his off the ball work and the way he interacts with whoever his strike partner is (generally Berbatov) And that side of his game needs ALOT of work. The only player i have ever seen Rooney really gel with up top for any amount of time was when Carlos Tevez first joined the club, and they looked like mental midget twins terrifying the opposition with intuitive artistry. Has he ever hit it off with anyone at international level? Michael Owen? Nope. Emile Heskey? A little bit. But the fact is that when he plays as the primary central striker, whoever plays second fiddle to him normally gets a bum deal.

And the question has to be raised...why?

Its not that Rooney isn't intelligent. Or that he is greedy. Or that he does not care. However, i feel his cavalier attitude (something we all love about him) is his biggest weakness. Maybe with the years this will change. We know he isn't the nutjob he used to be. The mouth still barks at referees way too much but he isn't trying to kill anyone anymore. But it does not disguise the fact that if you micro analyse the things that makes a team tick..especially a team like Manchester United, that Rooney does not cut it as the centre forward. Now of course, the boy is scoring goals this year, and I'm sure that is the bomb that many will throw in my face after this article is published to the Interweb World. However my retort will be three words:

Ruud Van Nistelrooy

Ruud used to score goals..and LOTS of them. But during his five year tenure there was just one league championship, an FA cup win, and the Mickey Mouse cup. No European finals. No consistency in success. Rubbish. Now its fair to say that this wasn't Ruud's fault. 150 goals in 219 games proves his contribution. But the problem with having Ruud Van Nistelrooy up front was that IT WAS ALL ABOUT RUUD VAN NISTELROOY. If he didn't score then invariably we wouldn't win. I'm starting to see a mirror image with Rooney. Once again you could argue that this isn't Wazza's fault.. Hes paid to score goals. But United last three years of phenomenal success have come after Fergie ditched the idea of having just the one hitman and decided we needed a more complete threat from the team.

So what does this all mean? Well, to me its relatively simple. Yes, we could go out and break the bank, and I'm convinced that at some point the manager will bring in new faces. But for the time being we need to play to our strengths AS A TEAM. Not to individuals talents. I'm definitely not saying "lets drop Rooney" or "flog him to Real Madrid" But the times i have been most impressed with him is when he can drop deep, turn onto the opponent and terrorize them face on...a bit like Lionel Messi does for Barcelona. Would you call Messi a winger? No. But he attacks from a wide position. And that is what we should do with Wazza. This means we would have more of a threat on the pitch in either a 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 formation. At the moment we are trying to get 10 players to feed a singular entity up front. Been there..done that..won nothing.

There is no doubting that the team has to take all of this on the chin..its a collective issue. But for me the games we have lost this season have come from our inability to score at vital times. Yes the defence has been bonk and our midfield have looked like amateurs at times, but it is worrying when our ability to score goals weighs so heavily one player. Yes, Ronaldo did score most of the goals of the last three years, but as in the 90s the goals were shared out among several players. Goal threats were everywhere. At the moment we have Michael Owen warming a bench he doesn't deserve to be sitting on. What could we be if we managed to integrate him, Berba and Roo in the same side? It would be awesome...and it IS possible.

Rooney will never be a Ryan Giggs..running down the wing. But he has the talent and God given ability to diversify and do a top class job for the team. Berba WILL play better with Owen up top with him (someone who will properly work the channels for him..Roo drops too deep for this) and Michael Owen will do what he does best - guarantee you 20 league goals a season. I know this can work. I hope Sir Alex gives it a pop against Birmingham



  1. What a load of h........

  2. idiotic post - rooney is the best player in the world and our leading scorer.

    garbage article

  3. best player in the world? and the rooney obsession strikes again!

  4. Totally agree with your article.

    He's not the best player in the world!

    Berba and Owen to start up front and Rooney play deeper and support midfield. In your previous post you had talked about midfield weakness etc and think Rooney could be the missing link here.

    I love Roo, I love his passion and I do love the way he will get the ball back even if it means running the length of the pitch.

    I think you're right that the above comments highlight the "Rooney obsession" amongst fans.

    Of course we could be wrong and he could suddenly score goals each week but I don't honestly feel that's what he will do.

    If he does it then fantastic but for now Owen and Berba to score goals and Roo in support would be ideal for me!

  5. My concern is that Rooney's distribution has been poor this season and a move into midfield would highlight this. This has to a certain extent made it difficult for his strike partners, however, his goal scoring tally this season is superb, he is joint top scorer in the Prem alongside Defoe and Dogbreath and beating the ladyboy by 2. As a striker - what more can you ask? RVN did nothing BUT score goals. (I hope he doesn't go to the Bin Dippers BTW, even at this stage in his career)

    Rooney should play up front, end of. Berbatov should be getting more goals, when has he won us a game (an important one)?

    Rooney is undoubtably one of the worlds greatest footballers at present, Im not saying he is better than Ronaldo, Messi etc but he would certainly be the first player I would pick in any team.

  6. Scanning newsnow at work, bored, I came across this. That is a very very interesting perspective, one which you argue amazingly well. As a impartial Vulcan like observer, I am actually sold on the idea of Rooney playing the attack mid role. He's got a vicious shot, the eye for the pass, and the desire to run with the ball. He could pull the strings from that area is quite possibly what united is missing.

    On the other hand, as an Arsenal fan, I don't ever want to see it happen

  7. Totally agree.....

  8. Well united are short of alternatives up front, owen is wank, berba, while he is a genius on the ball when playing against defenders who give him lots of time on the ball, does not score enough goals, and none of the youngsters are anywhere near reliable enough yet. Mame Diouf could be another Manucho. So unless we sign some quality up front, rooney is the spear-head and outright the most reliable goalscorer we have. I believe wayne can do a job anywhere accross midfield, but it still doesn't change our situation, we need to bring in quality up front.

  9. HAAAAA HAAAAA You are agreeing with yourself

    shit article

  10. Couldn't agree more my friend. I still believe that Utd need a midfield "General" to help manage the team from the pitch - which if we're honest they are missing.

    I see no reason why Fergie shouldn't play Roo, Berba & Owen together - If Ronaldo was still at the club then Sir Alex would play all three so why change the three prong attack just because the "Winker" has left.

  11. A well-observed post! (I'm an Arsenal fan, btw) I don't think anyone can question Rooney's commitment, skill, tenacity, or workrate, but even an untutored eye can tell that his passing needs improvement.

    Goal scoring should be shared work! Perhaps due to the injuries, your defense has hardly been seen to poach a goal. (In all competitions, only what? 3? v. Chelsea's 5 goals v. Arsenal's 10-- although Vermaelen's contribution is more an aberration than the norm) I'm sure things will pick up though. As much as I hate it, Man Utd., with or without a top-of his-game Rooney, never go down easy.

  12. I have often put a similar case forward and often had the similar retorts back that you are facing here. The key to managing a team is exactly getting the most out of all the individuals and in a way that they all contribute in the manner of a team. I was also frustrated with the style of play when Ruud was with us (despite the fact I loved the guy) as he slowed the play down terribly. There is no point lambasting all and sundry-None of those players against the filth were bad players (though Gary Neville is past it and Danny Wellbeck shouldn't being playing first team football until he learns to get his head up and understand that some times an assist is more important than a goal). The fault was that we had an unsettled defence yet again (against a very pacey finisher) and a lack of cohesion between midfield and the forwards. I think Having Rooney sit in at the top of the a midfield triangle would be well worth a try (it may also see the end of fat franks England career). Obertan Hargreaves (as soon as he's fit) Rooney Valencia Berbatov and Owen/Diouf (who could be a tasty player) would see us back to our best I reckon - and there is no doubt that Rooney would do his defensive duties in midfield (better than Scholes ever did - and I yet to meet anyone who didn't enjoy seeing him in the middle of our team.

  13. you obviously don't get a good view from tier 3 rooney is world class. And carrying our team.

  14. Why are people responding with things like - "load of rubbish" "Rooney is world class". The author clearly states that he thinks Rooney is a great player and that a change of poisition may benefit the team. I gave up my season ticket (front row tier 3 in your picture) because I couldn't hack sitting around people who clearly didn't understand the game and screamed all sorts of nonsense at the team. Please just at least read the article- and if you must respond, respond with a reasoned argument!!!!

  15. True that!. I would love to see Rooney10 to take a free and creative role and start scoring the volleys and chips which are no more in sight.

    I hope Berba works out for United, atleast in CL.

  16. Thought provoking words written by an articulate fan of the club and Rooney himself.
    Unfortunately, Man U' whether you like it or not are bigger than The Beatles and Jesus, in amongst all that bigness there will, for sure, be a random selection of "fans" who think they can do a better job than Fabio Capello. As luck wouldn't have it, some of these chumps publicised their muddled thinking and iliterate views, which incidentally would embarrass the moderators of BBC 606, here.

    Forget every transfer fee ever paid by anyone to anyone, Wayne Rooney is a world class football player and a jewel in the Manchester United crown. In years to come he may well choose to ply his trade abroad, if so, United can probably look forward to spending a wad of cash in excess of the amount Gordon Brown has pissed up the wall failing to fend off the UK recession.

    Rooney, just like Wimbledon, The Open and the British GP is a national treasure, why not let Sir Alex Ferguson, who knows a tiny bit about football management, use him as he sees fit? You never know, next summer the petulant scouser of years gone by may well have a say in where the World Cup ends up being displayed for the next three and a half odd years. I hope so.

    Anyway, back to those 606 rejects. Why not read and understand the blog entry before wasting ten minutes of your lives responding to an article which, clearly, you don't completely understand.

  17. I second Alex's comments.