Wayne Rooney, perhaps unsurprisingly, was booed by sections of the Wembley crowd in the game against Bulgaria. Rooney’s frosty reception came following a disappointing World Cup from the Manchester United striker, in which he criticised fans in front of TV cameras after England’s dire 0-0 draw with Algeria.
It was the perfect reply from Rooney, however, to put in a good shift for his country, finishing the game with a hat-trick of assists: becoming only the second player in 12 years to do so, after Theo Walcott did against Andorra last year. But what of the reaction that he received? Are England fans right to boo Rooney like this? Well, it depends on their reasoning, really.
If they think that Rooney didn’t try hard enough, or didn’t play well enough, at the World Cup, then it is frankly ridiculous. It’s just too simplistic to lay the blame at one player’s feet because of a couple of underwhelming performances; especially when he’s playing in a system that doesn’t really suit him that well, and being starved of possession by some very defence-minded sides.
If the fans’ reaction was, alternatively, a display of dissatisfaction at Rooney’s petulant reaction to the boos at the end of the Algeria game in South Africa, then you might say ‘fair enough’. Rooney may have been wrong to react in such a manner, but does that give the fans the right to boo him?
The mentality of the fans should now be to look to the future; the World Cup was horrendous for England, but it’s over now, and the side have qualification for the European Championships to concentrate on. Hopefully, following a reinvigorated performance, the fans will take a more positive attitude towards Rooney and the rest of the England squad in the game in Switzerland on Tuesday.
Current public opinion of Rooney is set to take another blow, however, as revelations about his private life are being reported in a couple of tabloids today. Many players before him have had to deal with both adulation and derision from the English public, and Rooney might find himself having to work hard to get them back on his side.
Where do you stand on Rooney? Should England’s fans get behind their players regardless? Or have his performances and/or actions warranted his reception?
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