Wayne Rooney: England’s answer to Lionel Messi, the country’s biggest hope in bringing the World Cup back home. A player with a special talent, skilful, strong and undoubtedly fiercely competitive.
So far in the World Cup however, the focus has shifted away from his abilities as a footballer to the debate surrounding his temperament.
Wayne Rooney has already experienced the disappointment of being sent off in a World Cup tournament with the now infamous ‘Wink’ incident. Whilst the criticism rained down on Cristiano Ronaldo, what many overlooked was the poor challenge by Rooney, which left England with an uphill struggle to progress. A challenge that seemed to come from nowhere. After such a prolonged focus on his temperament, Rooney simply seems unable to control his emotions at times. You would think after being the focus of debate for many years now that Rooney himself would maintain a greater awareness of his behaviour. Such is his competitive nature however that this seems impossible. Following Rooney’s red card in a Champions League game for Manchester United against Villarreal, Alex Ferguson seemed to make a conscious effort to ensure Rooney did not behave so petulantly in the future and it does seem to have had some effect. Rooney does not get involved in as many incidents as he previously has done, learning more to channel his frustration into his own performance display his quality. At the highest level of football, on the international stage, many try to use as many different tactics as possible in order to achieve success. Players at the World Cup will no doubt target Rooney, looking for the reaction that may see the United striker snap. Not only would their opponent be down to ten men but they will have lost their best player.
After his experience of the last World Cup, Rooney would be a fool to get involved in any conflict in South Africa. England will certainly need him if they are to make an impression in the tournament. The next time Rooney sees a significant red, let us hope it is from the thousands of St George’s crosses in a World Cup victory parade.
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