Wayne Rooney has had his ups and downs of late. He's been at odds with his manager, and he's been criticized by the England faithful for his behavior.
Sometimes, those players just need an opportunity in order to thrive. Sometimes, they just need to feel appreciated.
In light of being named England's temporary captain, you can bet that Rooney will shine.
For the first time in a competitive match, according to the Telegraph, Rooney will captain the Three Lions in World Cup qualifying against San Marino on Friday. Rooney will fill the void while Steven Gerrard serves a suspension and Frank Lampard recovers from a knee injury, according to ESPN.com.
This is a big honor, and one Rooney has never had on his resume, despite being 26 and one of his country's veteran players. The closest he's come to this was a few years ago, when he captained his squad in an international friendly, according to the Telegraph.
This isn't a distinction that's lost on Rooney. He knows this is a big deal, a privilege, something that doesn't happen to every player, no matter how elite. Upon being named temporary captain, he told the Telegraph:
It is a great honor. I'm really proud and excited. It will be a big night for me and my family. It is a big challenge for myself. I don't know what sort of captain I am and I already speak with all the players whether it is younger or older.
Rooney brings a lot to the table, not only as captain, but as a member of England's national team. He's experienced, explosive and clearly isn't lacking passion for the game, and because of all that, he has a lot to offer some of the budding stars on his roster.
The best leaders aren't always perfect, but they're the ones with the most to teach the players who are still learning. Rooney is no saint, and nobody is claiming it, but he's been through plenty of ups and downs in his career. That's reality. Rarely does any player sail through his career without a hitch.
Rooney knows how to bounce back from the downs, which is critical. Hopefully, that wisdom will make this entire squad stronger as it prepares to face a very limited San Marino team that it should, by all indications, beat.
Just as important as winning is finding a way to prepare his teammates for the challenges ahead. Rooney told ESPN.com:
There are a lot of young players in the squad and I always try to speak to them and offer advice. I remember Alex Ferguson telling me what a big help Cantona was to all those younger players at United. It is something I can try do for England and hopefully help bring the best out of them, as they can bring the best out of me.
Now, all England has to do is win on Friday in order to justify the new (temporary) captain.