Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney has been having a bit of a tough time in recent years.
Despite the 31-year-old became the joint highest scorer in Red Devils history at the weekend, it seems he’ll always have his detractors – so it’s about time someone stood up for the guy.
Off-field matters may not have been quite up to scratch over the years, but on the field he’s been one of England, and Manchester United’s greatest.
1 He’s the record goalscorer of the biggest football club in world
Manchester United are the most supported club in world football, so it’s some feat to be the all-time record goalscorer of the club.
His name will go down in history, and in 30 years time we’ll still be talking about his record (probably when Kai Rooney overtakes it).
2 That goal against Manchester City
Voted as the best goal in Premier League history in 2012, Rooney’s incredible bicycle kick against their fierce rivals was absolutely peak Rooney – audacious, technically brilliant and a match-winner to boot.
3 He’s a five-time Premier League champion
It’s weird that Rooney has critics and sometimes is accused on the international stage for not being a ‘winner’. The guy has won the Premier League trophy five times, alongside an FA Cup and two League Cups.
4 He’s massively respected by his fellow professionals
“For me, he is the greatest English player in his generation.” Lionel Messi.
Need we say more?
5 He’s the all-time leading English goalscorer
Yeah, but he played more than people in the old days, boring people will point out.
It’s not the point – the point is he’s scored over 50 goals for his country, above the likes of Bobby Charlton and Gary Lineker – who were pretty decent players.
6 That goal against Newcastle
Rooney at his absolute best – given the referee an absolute earful, followed by a thunderous volley into the top corner.
7 He’s a Champions League winner
We often talk about the great players and what they’ve won at the peak of their careers – guess what? Rooney’s also in that bracket.
Winning the biggest club competition in the world and scoring four goals on their way to the final, it’s an often overlooked part of Rooney’s career.
8 He is genuinely capable in different positions on the pitch
Of course there’s been a great debate whether he should be a striker or midfielder, but the fact is he is equally capable in both positions and his transition into midfield in recent years shouldn’t be underestimated.
9 His longevity is always overlooked
There have been very few players that have broken onto the scene at the age of 16 and remained at the top of the game, but Rooney has.
He’s 31 now, having had a 15-year career in football where he has remained a stalwart at both club and country level.
10 That goal against Arsenal
Talking of announcing yourself on the scene – Rooney’s goal against Arsenal as a youngster is still one of his best, and the commentary at the time, “Remember the name, Wayne Rooney…” couldn’t have been more perfect.
11 He’ll be remembered regardless of what he does now
Of course he’s coming into the twilight of his career, but give it five years, and we can guarantee you during the Qatar World Cup we’ll all likely to be looking back at pictures of Rooney and thinking, ‘we could use a player like him right now.’