Wayne Rooney’s form so far in the 2015-2016 season has been rather mediocre. And even though, on Saturday, he scored the winning goal against Swansea, with a delightful back heel flick, this was only his third strike of the campaign. In fact, it was his first goal since October 17.
But why has Wayne Rooney, who is the captain of both the English national team, and of Manchester United, failed so badly in recent months? Jamie Carragher, the former Liverpool player who is currently a pundit with Sky Sports, has explained why he believes the 30-year-old striker is struggling, insisting that the longevity of Rooney’s career has now caught up to him.
Rooney made his debut for Everton at the age of 16, bursting onto the scene with several eye-catching performances, which included a stunning goal against Arsenal that immediately saw him labeled as the next, great English football talent.
It’s now 14-years later, and Carragher insists that Rooney’s best years as a player are now probably behind him simply because of the number of matches that he has played during this spell.
Speaking to Sky Sports, via Express, Carragher explained his assessment.
“We have said before he was playing at 16, so, in reality terms he’s maybe like a 33 or 34-year-old player. People talk about age, it’s miles on the clock and it’s games played. He must have played nearly 600 [club] games as a centre-forwards, which is maybe not the same as playing in the position I did.
“I just think that battering from centre backs and the pressure that is on him, mentally as well, to play from that age of 16 – I think we are looking at a player who is getting to the stage of his career where I don’t think he will be playing at the top level at 34-35.”
This provoked Jamie Carragher to explain that even though Wayne Rooney is 30-years-old, his legs and stamina is that of a 35-year-old simply because of how long he has been playing.
“I just think he’s been playing so long now that maybe it’s 30 on his birth certificate but in terms of games played he’s a 35-year-old player,” Carragher noted.
But how can Wayne Rooney win over the critics who have insisted that the England captain is past it and should be dropped by Louis Van Gaal? Well, according to Carragher the answer is very simple, he needs to score goals over a prolonged period.
“I think for Rooney to answer his critics or show he is still the man to play centre-forward for Manchester United he maybe needs a run of 10 games — scoring maybe seven or eight goals,” Carragher declared.
It’s hoped that Wayne Rooney’s stunning goal against Swansea will prove to be the catalyst for an upturn in fortunes for the striker. With the ball behind him, Wayne Rooney managed to divert Anthony Martial’s fast cross into the corner of the goal, courtesy of his heel.
This gave Manchester United their first win in eight games, and now Louis Van Gaal, who has been under increased pressure because of this string of poor performances and the winless streak, believes that it could be a “fantastic starting point” for the Red Devils in 2016.
“It’s amazing that you can perform the game plan like we have done, in a risky style, under this pressure,” Van Gaal explained to the BBC. “I hope this is a fantastic starting point for us. We are still near the top of the league and the gap is less. So that’s football. A season takes eight months, or something like that, and not one month. We are sitting on the bench in a more relaxed way.”
[Image via Getty/Alex Livesey]