Ever since the 2010 World Cup when Wayne Rooney mocked English football fans for booing another woeful England performance, the Manchester United striker has been on the decline.
Despite hitting his peak transfer valuation of £55.25 million just a few years later in January 2013, the Englishman’s value has continued to plummet; much like his statistics.
Rooney is currently valued at just under £30m, the lowest valuation since his 2007 season, just a few years before ludicrous transfer fees became the norm.
His potential transfer price is not the only thing to have fallen over the last few seasons. Rooney’s goal scoring stats have too. Well, sort of.
Rooney has only scored 20 or more goals in the English Premier League on two occasions. Those were the 2009-10 and 2011-12 seasons. Other than those two seasons, Rooney’s top Premier League return was 17 in 2013-14.
It is safe to say, since the end of 2014, his goal numbers in the Premier League have gone down. However, in Rooney’s defence, it seems too many pundits and fans have seen him as both Manchester United and England’s goal scoring Messiah. Yet, those stats do not necessarily back that label up. Rooney hasn’t rarely been a 20 goal a season striker. Contradictory, Rooney has finished top Premier League scorer for Manchester United six times in his 12-plus seasons.
So, what is wrong with the striker? That is the question so many have asked and few – if any – have answered. Last season, Rooney tallied his fewest number of goals (8) since his rookie season with Everton in 2002-03 (6). He was played deeper for much of the season, as an attacking midfielder, by then manager Louis van Gaal.
New manager Jose Mourinho has done similarly, when he has picked Rooney; yet nothing has really changed.
While the team has undergone new management four times since Sir Alex Ferguson left (David Moyes, Ryan Giggs, Van Gaal, Mourinho) Rooney has only recently failed to turn in a double-digit goal scoring season. It doesn’t really seem to be the management, although Manchester United were difficult to watch under Van Gaal.
Rooney’s poor play, especially to start this season, seems to resemble a player that needs a new challenge. The heart is gone from his game. He looks tired and there is a very apparent lack of motivation to his play.
Rooney will turn 31 this month and with the amount of football played for both club and country, looks tired. The Englishman is in need of a break from action to recharge his batteries. Something he hasn’t got since he was a teenager.
Rooney’s form can be compared to the extremely enigmatic Mario Balotelli. The Italian was at the top of the game for years playing for some of the biggest clubs around. However, Balotelli hit a wall at AC Milan before moving to Liverpool and back to Milan. No one wanted him and it looked like the striker’s next port of call would be China or North America.
However, like Artem Ben Arfa previously, Balotelli moved to French side Nice and is currently rescuing his career. The Italian has five goals in three games for the Ligue 1 side.
Rooney is in desperate need of a similar move. Sure, he doesn’t need to move to France, but a move to an English team out of the spotlight would do wonders. A transfer away from Old Trafford and out of the insanity that a Manchester United bring, and Rooney would see an improvement in-form.
The Englishman will never be a Raul or Francesco Totti, playing into their late 30s and early 40s. Yet, Rooney can give so much more to the English game. Whether he will move is another question. With mammoth wages and the comfortable position he has at the club, there is little need for him to move unless he wants another run at being one of England’s top players.