Rooney Is at The Centre Of It For Club and Country

Craig EmmersonContributor IOctober 18, 2008

There were many people that started to question whether Rooney would live up to the expectation the media and fans had placed on his young shoulders. This week at Wembley, Old Trafford and in Minsk he delivered a giant and timely reminder to those doubters that he is special and the best is yet to come.

From the day Rooney burst onto the Premier League scene with Everton he has always showed he has the potential to be the best player in the world. However unlike most 22 year olds he has grown up in the eyes of the nation with the weight of expectation hanging over him and too his credit he has handled himself with dignity while learning about himself as a player.

Of course people will point to the disciplinary issues that he has had during his short career to date but no one can imagine or understand what it is like being Wayne Rooney.

There have been times when he has lost his cool and there will be times in the future when he sees red but he is human and if you take that part of his game away then you lose part of the player he is. He cares, he wants to win and most importantly he is a winner.

In my opinion Rooney is at his most affective when he operates as a link between midfield and attack, he is not an out and out striker and he is not a wide man but on many occasions in the last few years he has had to play in these positions for the benefit of the team.

This has helped him develop into the player he is but there is no doubt that for England to be successful the team needs to be built around Rooney playing in his most effective position.

I am not qualified to tell Mr. Capello how to do his job but in his short time in charge he has already realised that England play well when Rooney plays well, forget the debate regarding whether or not Gerrard and Lampard can play together, they will play well in a team when Rooney is playing well. He has the ability to change any game he plays in and can bring other players up to his level.

One thing that I cannot enthasise enough is that Rooney is ours, he is English! Yes he plays for Manchester United but he wears the three lions and he is proud to do so and we should be proud of that. If Rooney was Spanish, French, or Italian we would all be jealous and asking the question why cannot our acadamy structure produce our own Rooney but thankfully we do not have to ask this question.

His current form will come too late for this years European and World Player awards but he has time on his side and I have no doubt that he will win at least one of these awards during his career. Every time he gets an injury or gets criticised or has a loss of form he comes back better.

Sir Alex made a decision a couple of weeks to leave him out of the starting line up and as usual Sir Alex got it right because he came off the bench to score and since then he cannot stop hitting the back of the net. I am going to say something I have not said before 'thank you Sir Alex'!

I consider myself fortunate to be around to see Rooney play.