Rooney trading on memories

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Everybody has been on the Manchester United forward’s case this season, questioning why a player of such pedigree and with so much ability has looked so far off the pace.

With seven goals in a United shirt and only two of them in the Barclays Premier League, Rooney knows that he is performing well below par. The striker’s ankle injury, which has sidelined him since he was substituted in the 1-1 draw at Leicester on November 28, has only added to Rooney’s frustrations.

There is a chance he could feature in United’s Premier League clash with Norwich at Old Trafford tomorrow and, boy, do they need the old fella back in the old routine.

At the age of 30 he has so many responsibilities, with the pressures and the expectation of captaining club and country chiefly among them. On the field for United, his form has gone out of the window.

In addition he is also an ambassador for the NSPCC ahead of his testimonial at Old Trafford on August 3 next year, when the profits will be distributed to Claire House Hospice, Manchester United Foundation and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

It is incredibly generous, an altruistic gesture that will benefit three charities that were all chosen by the United captain (below) when the club agreed to stage the fixture.

The question is whether all these social and professional responsibilities have become too much for a player who is currently trading on memories.

In his favour, his attitude for the game is undiminished and Rooney’s dedication to his work with United’s fitness coaches during his spell out of the team suggests he is not about to fade away.

Louis van Gaal, who made him captain when he arrived at United after the 2014 World Cup, has also been a huge source of support during a difficult period in Rooney’s career.

He still has records in his sights, with the motivation to beat the 249 goals scored by Sir Bobby Charlton in a United shirt one of the main reasons behind his decision to turn down Chelsea in 2013.

With Jose Mourinho sniffing around him, Rooney’s existing contract — worth £250,000 a week at the time — was bumped up to nearly £300,000 a week to keep him sweet.

There are still two and a half years left on that contract, plus the option of a further 12 months beyond that, which is more than enough time to score the 13 goals that will take him clear of Charlton.

For all the grief he has been getting this season, he is one of only four players — Rooney, Charlton, Denis Law and Jack Rowley — to score more than 200 goals for the club.

Whatever is next for Rooney he has had an incredible career, with nearly 12 years playing for United at the very highest level of the game at home and in Europe. That cannot be taken away from him.

The prospect of a new challenge has caught his attention, with the possibility emerging of a lucrative move to China at the tail end of his career. Although Rooney does not want to embrace the idea that his career is winding down, there is little doubt that his form has deserted him so far this season.

The enthusiasm remains, the determination to beat Sir Bobby’s goalscoring record and restore this United team to the very top of English football before he is done.

He is incredibly popular in the dressing room, someone to whom the rest of the players turn for advice on his experiences in the game. Those qualities are not to be underestimated.

As ever, it’s what he can contribute on the pitch that really matters.– Daily Mail


Original source: Rooney trading on memories

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