Wayne Rooney: 10 Reasons England Are Better Off Without Him at Euro 2012
Wayne Rooney's sending off against Montenegro was harsh. The three-match ban enforced by UEFA defies belief.
England may gamble on utilising Rooney's skills should they succeed in getting beyond the group stage. But if Fabio Capello goes this way, he will be a striker short for those early games.
In all honesty, this is too much of a gamble.
The Manchester United star's absence does not end the Three Lions' chance of glory, as nobody seriously believes England will win next year's European Championships anyway.
Here are 10 reasons his absence will be a blessing in disguise.
Wayne Rooney Is a Red Card Waiting To Happen
Wayne Rooney is a wonderfully gifted footballer but one who appears to get little joy from the game that has enriched him.
His temper is always hot, his blood always up. The slightest incident can bring the red mist descending upon him like a shroud.
England cannot afford an angry Wayne Rooney on their team during a major championship.
As he showed against Portugal in 2006, and again at Montenegro recently, the Liverpool-born striker cannot control his temper. In the pressure cooker environment of a major tournament, England are better off without this liability.
Wayne Rooney's Record at Tournament Level Is Poor
In 2004, Wayne Rooney exploded onto the scene with goals and performances that had England fans dreaming of their nation's first soccer success since 1966.
Unfortunately, his record at major tournaments since has been very poor.
Clearly not fit when arriving in Germany in 2006, Rooney could not match the performances he gave just two years before in an England shirt.
There was no such excuse in 2010, but his performances during the World Cup finals in South Africa were dreadful.
His Absence Dampens the Hype
1966 and all that.
It's become a cliche to reel out England's last success in football each time the nation qualifies for a major tournament.
Successive disappointments have helped dampen the hype a little.
The absence of the team's most celebrated player will help dampen it further, which means there will be less anguish and heartbreak from Hull to Harlow when England inevitably crash out.
Maybe us fans can just enjoy the spectacle for once without feeling angry and let down when our team fails once more.
Wayne Rooney Is Not Liked
Outside Old Trafford circles, Wayne Rooney's name is a dirty word.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, supporting England united the nation. The football team was a flag every English person could rally around.
However, following his exploits both on and off the field, many football fans do not like Wayne Rooney.
His absence will help people feel the England team is one they can support again.
Joie de Vivre
Joie de vivre is what the French call a love of life.
Supporting England should be an expression of this, a time of celebration and pleasure.
Wayne Rooney's snarling temperament sucks the joy out of football. With soccer's angry young man gone, fans can look forward to an enjoyable occasion once more.
There Are Better Goal Scorers
Peter Crouch isn't everyone's idea of an international player but his goal-scoring record at the top level speaks for itself.
The Stoke City forward has 22 goals in 42 appearances, which compares favourably to Wayne Rooney's 28 in 73.
Put simply, international defenders do not like playing against the 6'7" (2.01m) striker.
Fabio Capello has inexplicably ignored Crouch for too long. Wayne Rooney's absence may force the Italian to recall him.
Wayne Rooney Is Tactically Naive
Wayne Rooney is a playground footballer who always wants the ball. At club level, this is a great thing as he gets to dominate weak opposition in the EPL.
At international level, his headless chicken routine serves only to cause England to lose their shape. Instead of waiting patiently to receive passes, he goes too deep too often in search of the ball.
As a result, England lose their outlet in attack and his presence congests central midfield.
Fabio Capello's side will benefit from having players prepared to do their manager's bidding if the likes of Danny Wellbeck or Darren Bent are picked instead.
The Kids Are Alright
The likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, having failed so many times for their country, are not.
England cannot hope to win Euro 2012, so they may as well use the tournament to help these youngsters gain experience before an attempt to win the World Cup two years down the road.
Other Players Must Step Up
How many times have Liverpool's players waited lazily for Steven Gerrard to save their skins? His brilliance has been a double-edged sword.
With Wayne Rooney and the England side, a similar thing has often happened.
Only Rooney isn't good enough at the top level to carry his side in the way Maradona or Roberto Baggio could.
Other players will have to step up in Rooney's absence.
Players like James Milner, the PFA Young Player of the Year in 2010. It is time for him and others to prove they have what it takes to thrive in international football.
England Are Better Without Him
In 2006, Wayne Rooney scored one goal in eight international appearances. Four years later, it was one in eleven.
Hardly the sort of form to base England's chances at major tournaments on.
Interestingly, OPTA tell us that England do better without their most famous player than with him.
Since Rooney made his debut, England's win percentage for the 73 matches he has played in is 60.3 percent. The win percentage for the 29 matches he has missed is 69 percent.
A massive difference.
England even score more goals without their star striker—an average of 2.21 goals per game when he is absent compared to 1.90 when he features.
Perhaps Capello, famously a fan of figures, should listen to these statistics.