It must be an odd feeling to hold so many records and have won so many trophies for a team and yet have left to such muted applause. Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney departed the team that made him, in the shadow of the move of the player that is replacing him: Romelu Lukaku.
Of course, nobody is claiming that Rooney is still the same quality player that he was. Formerly a goalscoring powerhouse and leader of his team, Rooney’s influence has diminished massively at United, so much so that he was rarely an option from the bench, last season.
That is why his move to Everton is not a surprising one. The transfers of Robin van Persie to Manchester United from Arsenal or Carlos Tevez to Manchester City shocked football so much because it was a top quality player moving to a rival, which would of course have a negative impact on the team he was leaving.
— Wayne Rooney (@WayneRooney) 9 July 2017
For Rooney, this is not the case. He is still a very good player but would Manchester United win the league with him as their first choice striker? Not anymore. The only thing that remains true from the previous statement is that United have sold to a rival in Everton, a side that are looking to leapfrog Jose Mourinho’s team this campaign.
While Rooney is no longer at the summit of his powers, it really seems as though the only way to really appreciate him is to have no affiliation to Manchester United or England. Incredible, but true.
Interestingly, legendary Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic came and went. He scored 28 goals last season included the winning goal in United’s EFL Cup Final win over Southampton. Following an injury that would see him out for months, though, he was released. Now, ask any United fan, and they will tell you that ‘Ibra’ was a hero and a damn good signing, and one which they are disappointed to see leave.
This comes after the nomad scored 28 goals and won two trophies. Rooney on the other hand has 253 goals, and has won the Champions League, five Premier League titles, one FA Cup, four League Cups and one Europa League title. Zlat is an incredible player, but he is almost like a luxury; present for a season or two, free-scoring and a serial winner, but he isn’t a player that sticks around for the long haul.
Rooney on the other hand has given Manchester United, and indeed England, with whom he is the record goalscorer with 53 goals, the best years of his life. Upon his departure, the only thing he had to show for it was a muted celebration that is not worthy of such a loyal and successful servant to the club.
As mentioned, his time with England has not been much better. Of course, he has not been anywhere near as successful with the national side, but he is their top goalscorer and a player that gives his all to the team, yet he is still a man that many don’t want in their ideal England side.
If only Rooney was Spanish or German, he would have been heralded as a king on the pitch, with most other countries worshipping their record goalscorer. Even if he does not start every game, he would be a respected part of the side that the team and fans turn to if they need an experienced head or a goal from somewhere. This is just not the case in England.
Perhaps if Wayne had been christened Pierre, Sergio or Hans Rooney, the English would look upon him and wish they had a player like him. The thing is, though, they have always had him, but he was never going to be appreciated fully, and nor has he been.