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GOLDEN BOY

If Wayne Rooney hasn’t earned your adulation by now then the problem is with you

"He never lived up to his potential!" — sit down, be quiet, and pay attention.

If you’re a Wayne Rooney critic, hater or denier then we politely request you shut up, sit down, and pay attention.

The Man United legend is soon cross the Atlantic Ocean, and for once, can you please just acknowledge the man’s positive impact on the game without the hint of a caveat?

We’ll miss you, Wayne

PA:Press Association
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We’ll miss you, Wayne

The fact some people believe Wayne Rooney did not live up his potential says a lot about a) the weight of expectation he was forced to play under, and b) just how bloody good he was in his younger years.

Peak Rooney was a phenomenon.

There was the fireball who eviscerated all in its path through sheer intensity.

He told his marker to ‘f**k off’, he told the referee to ‘f**k off’, he told his team-mates to ‘pass the f**king ball’, and all obeyed.

Everything he did was fuelled by an uncompromising desire to win.

One of the Premier League’s most engaging characters

Getty - Contributor
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One of the Premier League’s most engaging characters

Even in moments when he kept his composure to play the right pass or slide his finish past the onrushing keeper, there was a sense that a great deal of effort went into momentarily suppressing the merciless warrior beneath.

A brutal combination of speed and strength allowed him to envelop defences.

It’s no wonder his deterioration swooped on him with such ravenous swiftness.

The notion of playing within himself, shifting down a gear, playing at even 95% capacity, was wholly inconceivable to him.

The human body is not designed to withstand the demands Rooney placed upon himself in his prime.

“Rooney is the greatest English player of his generation.” – Lionel Messi

PA:Empics Sport
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“Rooney is the greatest English player of his generation.” – Lionel Messi

Then there was the ballerino.

A supremely talented technician, Rooney’s comfort in possession made him a class act.

The first touches, the turns, the thanks-for-comings… bloody glorious he was.

And have you ever known a centre-forward with such a knock as well?

He’d launch the attack from the centre-circle with ping out to the winger, then a couple of seconds later he was on the end of the cross into the box.

A bulldozer with an Aston Martin engine.

Conducted rampage

Times Newspapers Ltd
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Conducted rampage

Rooney is best enjoyed close up, where you can see his pupils dilate and the sweat leak from his pores.

But if you’re of the persuasion that the truth can only be found in the numbers then, firstly, have a think about losing your virginity at some point, and secondly, try this on for size…

Rooney is the only player in Premier League history to have scored over 200 goals and provided over 100 assists.

Jesus Christ, Wayne, leave some legendary status for Shearer, Henry, Lampard, and the other mugs.

The boy could play, couldn’t he?

Times Newspapers Ltd
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The boy could play, couldn’t he?

You don’t need us to tell you about the Premier League medals, the Champions League triumph, the Player of the Year crown.

Or the fact he’s scored more Man United goals than anyone else in history — George Best, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, all propping up our Wayne’s pedestal.

Charlton also looks enviously at Rooney’s England tally; as does Gary Lineker, Jimmy Greaves, Michael Owen and every single other man to bear the three lions.

It baffles us how anyone could question Rooney’s standing in the English game.

No, he didn’t propel us to World Cup glory, so what? Grow up.

To forget Rooney in full flight is one of football’s greatest crimes

PA:Press Association
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To forget Rooney in full flight is one of football’s greatest crimes

All his career, he’s played in the burning light of the magnifying glass.

There was no record he could have broken that would have silenced every critic.

Even now, recency bias has blinded thousands to his gravity.

Football rolls on and on; if you don’t consider each player’s career as a whole from time to time it becomes so fickle and monotonous, futile even.

Take a step back, the bigger picture is beautiful.

He lived the dream and then some

Action Images - Reuters
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He lived the dream and then some

Adored at Old Trafford but underappreciated by too many neutrals, we can only hope a move to new shores will trigger a wide-angled view of Rooney’s legacy.

Enjoy America, Wayne, we didn’t deserve you.


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