Although he has not even played one full Premiership game this season, the critics are already pouncing on Wayne Rooney. A huge stash of goals last year means he now has higher expectations than ever. Further, his role in England’s humiliation at the World Cup means there are many who are praying for him to fail domestically.
That he was the only player in the squad with any discernible talent means his failure is magnified more than anyone else’s. How dare he not lead our nation to glory single-handedly!
So he didn’t play particularly great against Newcastle in the first game of the season. Let’s not get too carried away before we write off his and United’s chances of success this season.
Rooney’s tally in 2009-10 was a freak occurrence. In years past Man United didn’t rely on such prolific individual goal scorers because the whole team contributed.
We've been spoiled by Ronaldo, and before that Van Nistelrooy. But remember that for all of Van Nistelrooy’s goals (a lot of which were set up by Rooney) United only won the league once.
Wayne Rooney is such a wonderful player that it would be near impossible for him to have a bad season. He may not score as many goals, but that doesn’t equate to failure.
Hopefully the whole team chips in this season instead of relying on him to carry them—for all of his achievements last year, United as a team didn’t win anything of value.
Against Fulham last week, United lacked the killer instinct that a fit Wayne Rooney may have offered.
Berbatov has arguably been United’s best player after two games but he needs help. Hernandez in time will be a fantastic player, but from the early signs I don’t think he was quite ready for how physical the English game is.
Maybe somebody should have warned him that teams like Fulham are going to kick and hack you all day long while the referee pretends he doesn’t see it.
Wayne Rooney can’t be bullied like that.
With the defense looking absolutely awful right now, and the midfield still not sure of its shape, the forwards are all going to have to step it up. On paper, United have four or five excellent marksman who should all be able to contribute.
If United are to have a great season, they don’t need Wayne Rooney to score 30-40 goals again. They need him to chip in with a few, but more importantly to help link up play. I would argue that if Berbatov is their leading scorer, chances are they win the league.
Likewise in the World Cup, England sat back and waited for Rooney to win it all by himself. A successful team still wins when its best player has an off day.
Rooney is expected to be back in the line-up for Saturday’s game with West Ham. If United are seriously going to threaten Chelsea this year then these are the games they need to be winning. And it will be a perfect opportunity for Rooney to get back in to form.
The clock is already ticking in a lot of people’s minds. Meaningless figures state that he hasn’t scored in over 1000 hours. Who cares? You can’t realistically think reaching back to last season counts towards a goal drought?
And are you really going to include England games? There isn’t a player in the world that would have had a good tournament playing with those misfits.
What about tonight? It’s Friday night and he hasn’t scored a goal yet. Can we add that onto the tally of his failures?
Forget the England games—domestically it was only half a dozen games he didn’t score in at the end of United’s 2010 campaign. Shocking!
So if we look at this rationally, and talk about this new Premier League season only, Wayne Rooney has played a total of 63 minutes (against Newcastle) and scored no goals.
I know predicting the downfall of Man United is a common theme in the popular press, but please stop deluding yourselves. This is not a crisis two measly games into a season.
If in May United have won no trophies and Rooney still has zero goals, then we’ll talk.