John Rooney's Family Fortunes?

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIDecember 10, 2009

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 8:  John Rooney of Macclesfield Town during the Coca Cola League Two Match between Northampton Town and Macclesfield Town held on August 8, 2009 at the Sixfields Stadium, in Northampton, England. The match ended in a 0-0 draw. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Pete Norton/Getty Images

Football scouts are flooding to Moss Rose – the stadium of English League 2 side Macclesfield Town. The reason for this barrage of optimistic talent searchers is a player named John Rooney.

Obviously for anyone who has an iota of foot-balling knowledge they would recognise the surname. John Rooney is indeed related to Wayne, in fact he is his younger brother who a few years back was the overweight yet content sibling surrounded by the buzz of spotlight bestowed upon superstar Wayne and his other half Colleen.

Now John has got into shape with the help of a training programme and an improved diet and diverted his career away from Everton, to a team giving him a chance of success in the lower tiers of league football.

In his first season so far the midfielder/forward has achieved a return of four goals from thirty games. This is not as instant as he or any Rooney fan would have liked but is a modest amount for a rookie. We can’t all be the Lewis Hamilton’s or Michael Owen’s of the world after all.

So is such attention from scouts warranted from what appears to be a promising but hardly spectacular start to a career? Or are the researchers simply flocking in the hope that John provides a repeat performance of the early career seen by Wayne Rooney at Everton?

Sadly it may be that many are there for the latter reason and as a result John may be set to suffer the dismal fate of facing the added pressure of emulating his highly regarded brother.

In such a position anything less than an England cap or a Premier league position could be considered as a failure. This all of course seems ridiculously unfair on the nineteen year old who plays at this point in his career for the point of playing in a sport he admires.

Such expectation is not unfamiliar in the world of sport where frequent obsessions with making stars out of those with family ties are common. Comparisons will always be made between a sports star and their parents, children or siblings.

For many father figures there is a great honour to be achieved by seeing their own children follow in their illustrious footsteps. Bets have already been taken on the likelihood of Brooklyn Beckham captaining England in twenty or so year’s time.

Sometimes it does work. Phil and Gary Neville achieved plenty in their time at Old Trafford, and in sports such as Formula 1 Jacques Villenueve and Damon Hill emulated their previously celebrated fathers by winning Drivers’ titles and stamping their name into the history books.  

However sometimes it does not work. Racer Nelson Piquet Jr is a good example of what over hype and too much expectation can do to a career. Here was a driver who showed great promise and speed in the start to his career, but one who was ultimately let down by a lack of pace, determination and morally controlled decisions when he reached the top level of his sport. He was literally fed to the wolves and no-one was there to rescue him, not even himself.

Macclesfield Town’s manager has given a solid critique of John Rooney, highlighting both his weak and strong points and contemplations of where the future may take him.

The youngster is clearly full of passion and pride – he vehemently loves the sport of football.

According to current manager he still requires some immediate growth and gradual progression over the years but is well on the way to something.

Whether that something is a career spanning similar glories to Wayne, or whether it is a career that offers enough to sustain a living is yet to be seen. It would be nice to see John being permitted to choose his own path, as opposed to being directed to where people think he ought to be, or what people think he ought to be achieving.

He will also undoubtedly be given little room for error, which is unfortunate to say the least, but anything less than what Wayne has achieved will allow for the media to compare and contrast in whichever way they please. Wayne will no doubt feel incredibly protective of his brother if the paparazzi treat him negatively.

Macclesfield seem to have the right idea in nurturing their new talent and perfecting the promising skill sets that is possessed.

You just have to hope that a bigger club doesn’t snap him up on the feeling of a successful continuation to the Rooney story as opposed to actually purchasing him for his talent. If he is asked to run before he can walk he could lose his career in a heartbeat.

The boy is definitely heading in the right direction given his overweight childhood years and living in Wayne’s shadow. The progression to this point is sensational.

His fitness is nearing a confident level, and his attitude is complimentary to his brothers in his determination and spirit.

It is with regards to his impending future and the potential that he can portray that most will be invested in. He will make mistakes along the way, though it will depend a great deal on the treatment he is given for these that will determine how much he can learn and improve as a result.

What those who judge him must remember is that he is John Rooney, not just Wayne Rooney’s little brother.


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