Is Wayne Rooney the New Paul Gascoigne?

Eric Boakye AntwiContributor IDecember 23, 2011

Gazza reincarnate: Is Wazza the new Gazza?
Gazza reincarnate: Is Wazza the new Gazza?Clive Rose/Getty Images

Wayne Mark Rooney is certainly everybody’s favourite player. Brave, adventurous, enthusiastic, a go-getter—he is everything Paul Gascoigne was. He is also one of the most red-carded England players ever along with—you guessed it—David Beckham. In this avenue Paul Gascoigne triumphs over his conspecific Rooney.

But do the similarities end there?

Rooney grew up in the run-down suburbs of Liverpool and through his own ingenuity made it to the pinnacle of the game. None of his older relations are into soccer—meaning he picked his own way rather than being influenced by any footballer in his family. There is no soccer in his blood; it does not run in the family. His brother John is following in the lead of his older brother, though.

Rooney burst into the limelight playing for Everton—the club he loved as a boy—in 2002. Two seasons later and a lot of maturity later, he crossed over to the red half of Manchester in a deal that was dubbed the bargain of the century. Rooney had huge potential—like a newly discovered oil field. Billions and billions of barrels of soccer wizardry lay in the bowels of the player.

He has for the past seven years been a faithful red—until he threatened to leave last season. That threat has now been understood to be about—yea, you are right—money. Money influenced Wazza to threaten to walk out on Alex Ferguson’s resolve to wrestle the most decorated EPL winners’ title from Liverpool.

Now that he stayed put, has his influence been felt at Old Trafford? After helping United to her 19th title and eclipsing Liverpool in the process, what’s next for Rooney?

Rooney bedded two prostitutes while his wife Coleen was pregnant with their first child (via The Telegraph). That does not look like Paul Gascoigne to me. And it certainly does not look like a George Best either. Gascoigne and Best would never bed prostitutes.

For the latter, the “birds” were in constant supply—why solicit prostitutes? Gascoinge in his most insane moment would never solicit prostitutes—women were not his thing. Rooney hasn’t descended into a self-destructive fiend but is amazingly focused on his game despite all the temptations he faces every day—from women in particular.

In 2009-2010, Rooney was the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and also the FWA Footballer of the Year. He is also the third-highest paid footballer in the world after Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. That looks like success to me.

Paul Gascoinge won these awards—or their equivalent—during his heyday. Both players have awards to show for their amazing talent. While Paul Gascoinge is said to have never achieved his full potential, I wonder if the same could be said of Rooney when he is not lacing his boots anymore.

Both came from deprived backgrounds. Gascoinge’s dad was a hod carrier while Rooney’s dad was a bricklayer. But both have, through a sheer will to succeed, made it to the pinnacle of the English game—a sure signal that anybody anywhere could too.