Contrary to popular belief, Wayne Rooney is not an ordinary player. The Englishman has been under heavy scrutiny since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, many used him as a scapegoat for Manchester United’s recent failure, while others outlined his drop in form. Despite the media talk, Rooney’s 100th cap for England speaks volumes on behalf of the forward.
Since his debut against Australia in 2003, the striker went on to play in three World Cups and Two European Championship (missing a third due to England’s failure to qualify in 2008). He developed quite well yet his luck to be born to an English family meant that he won’t be able to win on an international level. England may be quite poor in the last decade but Wayne’s continuous presence in the squad means that what he possesses is quite rare compared to the rest of his countrymen. In 2004, Rooney took the crowd by a storm, he was still young yet he showed great abilities as he fought for every ball up front, his goal against Croatia in that tournament was scored with composure as if he had been doing that for ages when in fact it was his first major tournament.
It’s quite difficult for someone to criticize a player who has reached 100 caps. Although he was the youngest English player to reach that record, he was unlucky to be playing in era along with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Luis Suarez. There is little doubt that he is England’s most talented player in ages though he failed to score as much goals as the people expected him to do. He is one of the greats but not the all-time great, people put a lot of expectations on his shoulders and perhaps this put the man under pressure. He seems to be less flexible, physically and tactically compared to five years ago. He has lost his physicality but he still is England’s best man up front despite the emergence of several young strikers. He still has time to preserve his current abilities and prolong his playing time with both Manchester United and England.
Eight players have reached a century of games for England before Wayne Rooney, among them are current Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole but neither of the two is likely to end up with more caps than Rooney once all three have retired. He’s yet to reach the 30th mark and has plenty of reasons to keep on giving for both club and country.
After reaching 101 games, Rooney is in line to break Peter Shilton’s record of 125 as long as he sticks to his club Manchester United. Even though he isn’t at his best, he still feels at home in Manchester. Any transfer to another club could put him in an unfamiliar place and affect his performance. Under Van Gaal, he will be able to find the right space to display his skills and stay a dangerous player in the final third. He needs to continue scoring regularly and dismiss all the rumours and news circulating around him, he will eventually become England’s most capped player unless he gets injured or drops terribly in form.