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Rest refreshes rejuvenated Rooney

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Phil McNulty | 22:34 UK time, Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Wayne Rooney left Manchester United's fitness programme out of his suitcase when he headed off on holiday - and five weeks of strictly-imposed inactivity has been rewarded with a golden spell of form.

Rooney, naturally hyperactive and a victim of boredom during down time in Fabio Capello's Rustenburg lockdown at England's 2010 World Cup campaign in South Africa, deliberately kept away from weights and refused to take a single step of road work.

The result has been a devastating start to the season that has brought five goals in three straight Premier League wins as Manchester United top the Premier League in search of their 20th domestic title.

And it was a relaxed Rooney who revealed the secret of his rejuvenation as he joined up with England's squad at their Hertfordshire headquarters for the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria in Sofia on Friday and Wales at Wembley next Tuesday.

Rooney

Rooney scored a hat-trick as Manchester United put eight past Arsenal at Old Trafford. PHOTO: GETTY

So relaxed, in fact, that even the lavish new growth of hair grafted on to previously barren territory with a summer transplant was not off limits.

Rooney refused to label 2010 his "lost year" - but made no attempt to disguise his delight at seeing the back of a desperate 12 months in which his personal life made headlines and he flirted briefly with the idea of leaving Old Trafford.

He started 2011 with his first goal from open play in eight months in the win at West Bromwich Albion, helped United win the title for a record 19th time and was outstanding even in defeat in the Champions League final against Barcelona at Wembley.

But Rooney has moved on to another level in the opening weeks of the new season and Capello will be hoping to feel the benefit in two vital games as England attempt to qualify for Poland and Ukraine next summer.

The England striker said: "I feel so good. I'm really enjoying my football. The best thing for me was that I had five weeks in the summer doing nothing. I did no training at all."

Rooney added: "I think in myself I just wanted to get that rest I haven't had for a while. I made the decision to do no training whatsoever, start my pre-season and work hard from there. I certainly feel that has benefited me.

"I'm the type of person who, if they do no training, could easily put on a lot of weight so I had to watch what I was eating a bit. I was fine though. I was just enjoying my time with the family.

"Honestly, I didn't lift any weights, run, nothing. The fitness coach gave me a programme to follow but... I was a couple of kilos over but it is easy to get off with the pre-season training we do."

Despite the obvious pleasure Rooney is getting from playing the lead role in a Manchester United side strengthened by summer arrivals Ashley Young, David de Gea and Phil Jones, the frustrations of months when he was a stranger to his best form still live in the memory.

He said: "I wouldn't say it was a lost year. During that season we won the league. It was frustrating because I knew I could do better and I was working hard in training and games but things weren't coming off.

"Because of my character it could have been quite easy for me to lose faith and confidence in myself, but I always knew I had the ability to get back to my best and help the team do well. I'm thankful I've been able to do it.

"It's hard if you know you can do things and you're trying but it's not working. It's quite hard to come to terms with that but thankfully I managed to get over it and play some of the best football I've played for a long time.

"I think on New Year's Day I was quite happy to get 2010 behind me and start 2011 by doing well and scoring my first goal in open play for a while at The Hawthorns. From then I felt happy and I was confident I could help the team."

The old Rooney has returned - along with some of that disappearing hair, restored at great expense and with much Twitter fanfare in the close season.

He admitted: "I spend a bit more time in front of the mirror these days. I'm sure a few of you lads in the media will know if you're going bald it's a bit stressful, so I made the decision to get it done - but I won't be like Cristiano Ronaldo."

Form restored. Hair restored. And a happy Rooney back to his best.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    It is definitely not the Wayne Rooney we saw at the beginning of last season and perhaps the World Cup earlier. I blame Rooney’s poor form of the previous season to burnout of having to carry a poor Man Utd team missing Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez.
    But it is so refreshing to see Rooney enjoying his football again. He is far more relaxed and this is encouraging for the season ahead.

  • Comment number 2.

    I think SAF should also take great credit for handling Rooney so well last year. The performances of Nani, Berbatov and Chicharito helped take the weight of Rooney's shoulders and allowed him to regain his best form. The additions of Ashley Young and Tom Cleverley have introduced pace and a freshness in approach that is definately bringing the Rooney of old out. Again huge credit to SAF!

  • Comment number 3.

    3rd : ) 20 here we come!!!

  • Comment number 4.

    A fit on song rooney leading from the front is something that is ominous for the likes of city and chelsea. You can see he is loving being the senior player up front and linking fantastically well with ando, cleverly, young, nani and wellbeck before his unfortunate injury. However such is our strength in depth chichario will fit semlesley in to this youthful, skillful pacy team. A joy to watch and long may it continue. The change in our style of play has been most pleasing for me. Quick short passes and plenty of movement off the ball a la barcelona. Now clearly we not at that level yet but its obviously where we want to be and with this side growing up together there is no reason why we cannot reach that standard.

  • Comment number 5.

    Let's hop England - by that I mean capello - can make use of the three main England player producers in man u, man c, and Liverpool. Keeping these groups of players together is paramountto success. Looking. Forward to watching England again!!!

  • Comment number 6.

    Rooney is a revelation when he's given more irresponsibility. He's playing a bit lower behind his partner striker and that is helping a lot as he's creating as well as scoring. Hope he continues the scoring!

  • Comment number 7.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 8.

    Rooney is a revelation when he's given more responsibility. He's playing a bit lower behind his partner striker and that is helping a lot as he's creating as well as scoring. Hope he continues the scoring!

    ** sorry for the typo**

  • Comment number 9.

    The best way to tell how good a player is, is how much he scares you when he's playing against your team.

    And Rooney scares the hell out of me when he's playing against my team.

    An amazing talent and so much more mature as a person this year.

  • Comment number 10.

    his best position is definately behind the striker and this could be the season he breaks into the next level but lets not get too carried away. I knew this article was coming once he got a hattrick against an awful arsenal defense. Id still like to see him beat a man for once.

  • Comment number 11.

    Do we really need an editorial piece based solely around an interview that Wayne Rooney gave to any reporter who bothered asking?

    Poor stuff I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 12.

    Very good year for Rooney. Wondering how Man City would have been like if he had crossed the city divide. Good job SAF go keeping this lad

  • Comment number 13.

    Sounds a bit like my golf...work and work on your game and it sometimes gets a bit tired and you can't work out why it's not happening for you, give it a month off and you often come back fresh and playing well. Hope he continues his great form, he's doing my Fantasy Football team wonders !

  • Comment number 14.

    Also anyone see this...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/14708094.stm

    Didn't listen the phone in but hope someone mentioned our Wayne! Surely the perfect number 10 on current form?

  • Comment number 15.

    The big difference between now and early 2010 (and before) is the emergence of Chicharito and, more recently, Welbeck (in place of Berbatov). That's allowed Rooney to play deeper like he used to when RvN was at the club. He's had a dip in form for years (except the season when Nani & Valencia gave him 34 tap ins) and that's because he was used as a main striker with Berbatov, or lone striker for big games. As a lone striker he has one or two defenders close on him and he neither has the stregth of a Drogba nor the pace of a Torres or Chicharito to play that role. IMHO he's been wasted in that role and if he dropped deep there was no one up front. Basically, he's now playing in hi sbest position again.

  • Comment number 16.

    200,000 a week and he needed a rest to do 90 mins every week?

    Ohh how the other half live hey, pay him 1500 a month, and if he doesnt play well he gets docked a % of his wage, see his performances improve then.

  • Comment number 17.

    Was at the game on Sunday.
    Rooney is the complete team player, who is enjoying a fantastic start to the season. The sensational chip that clipped the post shows the confidence flowing out of him at the moment. I think he is enjoying the fresh young-blood around him, and he must feel some sort of role-model or leadership figure been one of the older players on the pitch.
    Long may his form continue and hopefully for country too!

  • Comment number 18.

    It was blatantly clear that Rooney finished the tail end of the season, two seasons ago injured. His body hadn't had a chance to recover before last season started. Personally as an athlete myself I am amazed he made it through the year. The body can only take so much punishment. It's not by lifting weights alone we get strong, it's the rest period when the muscle grows and repairs itself that strength is added. Rest also helps the energy levels to come back up and clearly Rooney had been operating in the RED ZONE for way too long. It affected his metabolism, his moods, his game, and his private life. I am surprised United let it happen. The did have Hernandez and Berbatov to carry the load. He made bad decisions due to his body being completely over worked. Watch him have a stellar season now.

  • Comment number 19.

    I don't care what anyone says, Wayne Rooney is the best player in the premier league ,and in the top 3 of best players in the world.

  • Comment number 20.

    He has looked great from the first kick of this season, he's not the smartest guy around but he is a footballing genius when he lets his football do the talking rather than his gob.

    You can see why SAF has backed him, when he is on form he wants to win, he wants his team mates to win, he wants the ball, he wants to make things happen, he wants to score, he wants to assist, he drives himself on and those around him... how many other players are truly like that in the premier league? I'm generally an ABU but have to admit there is nothing better to watch than an on fire Rooney.

    Let's hope his body allows him to to all of this, his frustration seems to come when his own body can't live up to the high standards that he sets it.

  • Comment number 21.

    Lets Hope Torres Finds his Form like Wayne Rooney in the 2nd half of last season.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think all this praise for Rooney is far too much too soon. Yes he has had a good start to the season and that is only 3 games - 2 games were against poor opposition (Spuds & Arsenal). Why not wait until we are into the season proper before judging him and eulogising about his form?

  • Comment number 23.

    @pauldi81, I agree it's early but what is different is the overall style and attitude of WR on and off the pitch. He is obviously happier than he was last season. Being on the wing where he was often when Ronaldo was playing doesn't suit the type of player he is.
    @ManUtdFan wrote: I disagree completely. Ferguson did to Rooney what Benetez did to Torres and it could have finished the same way. Yes Fergie did very well getting the lad to stay, but he almost destroyed him the seasons previously, too many games back too soon after injury, playing while injured. I would also say Ferguson has been pretty slow to learn the lesson that the team appear to have learned this season. He hung on to Neville and Scholes a year too long, he hasn't utilised Berbatov as he could have done, and the style they are playing now is right up Berbatovs street and Alex keeps him on the bench. I am not complaining in that so far he has got away with it, but it could still backfire if an unhappy Berba starts affecting the mood of the camp.

  • Comment number 24.

    @22 tottenham and arsenal are not poor opposition.

  • Comment number 25.

    Oh I do feel so sorry for the poor "victim" that is Wayne Rooney. After all he was stuck in a 5 star hotel for a couple of weeks with nothing to do but lounge around and relax playing pool etc... except for the inconvenience of a little bit of training and playing (using the word loosely) in a small number of matches. Most people would love a holiday like that but poor little footballers cannot be expected to perform for 90 minutes after suffering such hardships.

    In the last week of the transfer window is this really the best thing that could be blogged about Phil, surely there is another Liverpool blog that you could do, probably predicting that they will win the league again after 3 matches.

  • Comment number 26.

    I have been a Wayne fan for a long time and I am so happy to see him play at the top of his game. The United team looks devastating this season, and the best part is, they are all so young! Long live United. MAX credit to SAF for a job very well done. I wish he could stick around forever.

  • Comment number 27.

    @ collie21 psot 23 - His overall style and attitude is hard to gauge correctly as we have had a relatively easy and successful start to the season. They time to judge it will be in coming weeks when we are not steam rolling opponents, when the midweek Champions League games also start. Ronaldo left in 2009 & Rooney had an unbelievable season so that cannot be used as an excuse now. I will reserve my judgement on his form until later in the season and if it deserves praise I will give it. I am not going to be swept away on a sea of praise and optimism 3 games into a season. We all saw what happened to Chelsea last year.

  • Comment number 28.

    @24 - On the 2 individual games both Tottenham and Arsenal were poor opposition – for one reason or another. By the time the return fixtures come this may change. Spurs offered very little in the first half and were never going to have enough in the tank to hold United for 90mins. Arsenal never showed up at the weekend – a first division League if Ireland side would have given a better account of themselves.

  • Comment number 29.

    Rooney looks like a new player, with the signing of De Gea, Young & Jones, Anderson is showing his value, Welbeck and Cleverly gaining experience from being out on loan. Plus with the likes of Valencia, Hernandez, Berbz, Carrick, Giggs, and lets not forget the twin defenders. Rooney must feel revitalised seeing the prospects of what united can achieve. (Rememeber this was apparently why he wanted to leave utd - according to rumours) And with him spearheading the surge you can understand why he is enjhoying his football. This is a great thing for Man Utd, the EPL, and at International Level.

    Football is reminiscent of Barca, no where near but give a few years to these players and who can say they wont replicate or go further than the barca squad!

    Im a realist and catching barca is not easy task (look at madrid) but I feel this team has something special up its sleeve! Watch this space!

  • Comment number 30.

    Totally agree, Phil. A rejuvenated player both on and off the field. It didn't happen right away and he had to get burned a few times before he realised just how much easier and more fulfilling the rewards were with a change in his attitude.

    I think most of the credit should go to Ferguson and his decision to use Rooney in his new role as a midfielder sitting behind the strikers. More room to work, more flexibility and definitely less frustration.

    We can only hope that Capello sees it the same way.

    http://www.soccerlimeyinamerica.com/?p=2074

  • Comment number 31.

    Lets Hope Torres Finds his Form like Wayne Rooney in the 2nd half of last season.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    To be honest Torres finding the form of Rooney during the first half of last season would be an improvement for him, Rooney still scored twice ;)

  • Comment number 32.

    30. At 10:05 31st Aug 2011, SoccerLimey wrote:
    ....................................
    I think most of the credit should go to Ferguson and his decision to use Rooney in his new role as a midfielder sitting behind the strikers.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    For the last 3 years people on 606 on Beeb blogs and any where else have been posting to put Rooney in midfield...Fergie is a bit slow catching on.

  • Comment number 33.

    He quite clearly has that "bit extra" back that made his so special (and expensive) He looks in devastating form and it's ominous for the other PL contenders (assuming he keeps said form all season)

    I disagree that this Man U / City thing is good for England though because will the likes of Cleverley get regular game time in the qualifiers? doubt it...we'll pick the usual and be rubbish....as usual! (hope I'm wrong!)

  • Comment number 34.

    This argument that professional footballers should not get tired playing alot of football is just plain daft! I've never understood the link between the two.

    Footballers train a certain way so they can get the most out of there bodies in order to perform to their maximum. Common sense.
    They play twice a week for 9/10 months and train as well but are not allowed to tire because they are on 150k plus a week?!?!

    Wheres the link??
    If a player is on 5k a week he IS allowed to tire??
    Is that the argument?



    These players play at break neck speed and have to play to win so give it there all.
    It's not Sunday league stuff. a summer tournament then they don't get a summer break so it adds to the tiredness. Here in England we have no winter break and a league cup on top of European football.

    The only rest they do get is when, or even if, the managers rotates his squd and rests some of his players.

  • Comment number 35.

    Just carrying on the form/fitness from the end of last season. Also benifiting from a few weeks rest over the summer. It's not rocket science to give athletes time to heal from any injuries instead of ending the season on May 29th..then playing for England in June..then pre season training/club tour in July.
    Long term I see him dropping deeper still in the Paul Scholes way which will give him a longer career.
    As a player he has everything.
    152 goals for United and I fully expect him to surpass 300 by the time he ends his days.
    Regarding my beloved Utd..not a co-incidence that play has speeded up with Fletcher and Carrick not involved. Both players need time to play,in Fletchers case he needs 3 touches of the ball before he pings it sideways or backwards. Anderson and young Tom want to play it forward and that is suiting the team which upfront has pace to burn.
    It seems we have returned to the dream team on '93 with the formation and tactics and so far,so good.

  • Comment number 36.

    Reallly who cares. I am enlgish and i am sick of this PA circus of a team. BBC reports like "lescott backs the england boss" of course he will back him, he is the england manager, whats he going to say , " no he is rubbish, get rid." That fact of the matter is that when it counts rooney and the rest of the team are terrible in world cups and euros. Great he's re-freshed 2 seasons before the euros.... This team is a nothing more the an advertising PA exercise. These guys interviews are scritped and team england is FAKE. They couldnt care less about england as a football team, its all about playing for money and how much The whole point of the premier league was to reduce the number of games played in a season to help the england team, improve grounds and make the england team the pinicle of the english game dont think thats happen, good place to clean dirty money though
    Sick of being patronised by the media and the PA joke

    The games is dead rant over

  • Comment number 37.

    Rooney is becoming the best player in english football, you can blame a long haul of matches or even rooney having to carry berba and hernadez for his dip in form but the truth is fergie must have had a good deal to do with rooney settling down again, hernadez could easily steal his thunder which is prob another reason he has put in some great preformances, ut either way he has always had the talent and skill to do it, lets hope he keeps it up and maybe moves on to another before the end of the season.


    ITS GREAT TO BE A UNITED FAN WITH THIS NEW ERA OF PLAYERS COMING THROUGHM, ITS A PITY FERGIE WASNT 20 YEARS YOUNGER

  • Comment number 38.

    Sorry one season, still going be injured or tired by 2012

  • Comment number 39.

    They couldnt care less about england as a football team

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I know a hell of a lot of fans that think the same.

  • Comment number 40.

    Would ask Mr McNulty about the revitalised Torres though from earlier blogs.

    1 goal in 21 matches for Chelsea... that's roughly £50m per goal, easy to work out that one!

  • Comment number 41.

    I think i would have been slightly more impressed if Rooney had spent the summer running up hills in the Lake District. He is, however, moving beautifully. Sloth is king.

    I think the one skill that unites all of the greats is touch. Everything else can go fitness, clubs, wives but that remains constant. For me that is why Rooney will remain in a tier below the true greats. On a bad day Messi will always do something great. On a bad day Rooney will kick people and shout at Nani.

  • Comment number 42.

    The mentality and the focus of United is different this year. High pressure, football on the ground, younger players coming through is clearly aiding Rooney and co. Another championship me thinks! - Champions league? Only if Barca go out before us!

  • Comment number 43.

    Also, EPL players a bound to get tired and need a break. They are, afterall, playing in the best, exciting and most entertai ing league in the world.
    I mean, alot tougher than, let's say La Liga.

    Another thing I wanted to mention, this is another blog on Man Utd and again no focus on there change in style of play. More important than Rooney being fresh and utds community shield come back.

    Finally, I said this last season as well, bring on Barca over 2 legs.
    I more than fancy our chances with our stong away record and barcas not so strong away record in Europe.

  • Comment number 44.

    @ # 16 Reccy - I fit into a bra comfortably

    It irritates the hell outta me when people pass comment that a player like Rooney is not trying hard enough and should do better due to the wages they earn. No doubt, Rooney was frustrating to watch during the World Cup 2010, and at times last season, but do you really think he wasnt trying or would have played better if he earned 100x the income he is on?! No.....put simply, he was trying his best at all times and was burned out...regardless of the money he is paid. Its easy to see he is a player who wants to tear up the pitch every time he plays....and would do so even if he wasnt paid to play football, so get a life and get over the jealousy you harbour that you're in a profession that isnt as highly paid.
    I truly hope we qualify for Euro 2012, that Rooney is on fire and lights up the competition as careers in football are short and it would be a big waste to see him not show the world what he can do at international level.

  • Comment number 45.

    I don't see what all the fuss is about to be honest, Phil. Shrek with a wig on still looks like Shrek, right?

  • Comment number 46.

    Gonna get a 100 quid pay out if Rooney gets the Golden Boot. Looking a good bet now.

  • Comment number 47.

    They couldnt care less about england as a football team
    /I know a hell of a lot of fans that think the same.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Absolutely. I bet most fans would struggle to even remember England's last 5 results/scorers or even opponents. Gary Neville was even saying recently that England matches were 2nd fiddle to his club matches.

  • Comment number 48.

    United have made a great start, focusing on typical United fast-passing and movement rather than the more prosaic and safety-first power game that has tended to limit their majesty somewhat recently - when Rooney was often stubbornly accommodated even though he couldn't trap a bag of pubes. But people are going way too far with all this, and this time last season United had already taken Chelsea apart at Wembley, slapped in 3 at home to Wham and Newcastle, and were soon to completely outclass Liverpool and destroy Blackburn in a maze of passing, pace and class every bit as good as the poetry they've produced against City, Spurs and Arsenal this time around. Most commentators tend to ignore United's home form last season and judge it by their away form. And so far this time around that amounts to one hard-earned 2-1 win at The Hawthorns.

    Couldn't help laughing at the idea given in the blog that Rooney was 'outstanding' in the Champions League final - what!? Are you sure :-} Anyway, fair play to him for looking sharp and it's great to see his touch looking like that of a professional footballer at a top club. His temperament has not been tested yet this season, but I'm pleased that he seems to be aware that he carries greater responsibility now that he's a senior figure in the first team picture.

    If Rooney can carry this on for the whole season, the odd dodgy game aside, then he might finally be able to put what happened last season behind him. He's admitted he was a complete idiot and talking rubbish already, so that was a start.

  • Comment number 49.

    Scotsman here so not easy to say it, England will be dangerous at next year's Euro's. They actually look like they have the makings of a team than can gel and when Rooney is playing with players of quality and of similar understanding, that is when he is at his best. It is the understandind part that is beginning to look different.

  • Comment number 50.

    The big difference between now and early 2010 (and before) is the emergence of Chicharito and, more recently, Welbeck (in place of Berbatov). That's allowed Rooney to play deeper like he used to when RvN was at the club
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Absolutely spot on, as good as Wesley is, I didn't feel we need him if Chicharito/Welbeck played CF and Rooney just behind, with Cleverly/Anderson/Carrick/Fletcher taking care of the midfield.

    Rooney has once again been given the free role he excels in, which is bad news for all concerned.

  • Comment number 51.

    "Rooney has once again been given the free role he excels in, which is bad news for all concerned."

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    He has a far more defined role, not a free one. He's a centre forward again in a front two, and he's usually the one playing off the front man. It's standard Fergie stuff. Last season he combined with Berbatov and Hernandez superbly and they carried him through with their goals. This season so far he is combining okay with Welbeck who is now injured. Rooney has generally had a good link-up with United's wide players and Ashley Young has slotted straight into the first team which has helped everybody, not just Rooney.

  • Comment number 52.

    34.
    At 10:20 31st Aug 2011, Zeemo wrote:

    I have to climb 80-120metre turbines, change gearbox's, serving, blade repairs etc for on average 15 hours a day, 6 days a week. I do this for around £3000 a month. He gets payed £200,000 (approx) a WEEK and about 10 hours a week work and is tired..

    Bless his poor cotton socks.. He should do some real work before complaining!

  • Comment number 53.

    44.
    At 11:28 31st Aug 2011, Blue-nose wrote:

    A perfect example of someone who has got hsi head so far where the sun dont shine.

    £800k a month to kick a football around, and chase it sometimes..

  • Comment number 54.

    What I think is a scary prospect for the EPL is the strength in depth that the United team have, especially considering how young the team is. Wayne Rooney is only a nipper himself too!

    With regards to Scneider, I don't think Utd need him. Cleverly seems to be a good attacking midfielder and has played in a few big matches and done well. Young is the winger Utd need, he is the winger Nani should try to be, and to be fair to Nani he is no doozer.

    Even look at their centre halves, Ferdinand, Vidic, Jones, Smalling, Evans, that is better than any other team in the league. Frightening.

    However, I still think that are a step behind Barca, having watched both teams about 5 times already. But United are at least three or four times better than any other team in that league.

    What we help is that with the players around Rooney, he no longer has to carry a team. Thought his comments about Hargreaves were a bit out of order, though.

  • Comment number 55.

    54. At 13:26 31st Aug 2011, steensy wrote:

    Would agree with some of that but 3 or even 4 time better than City, Chelsea? It's early days to be making these wild assumptions! You didn't Win the FA or League Cup last year so your not exactly unbeatable are you? Team to beat? agree 100% but let's just see how it pans out!

    As for Barca' I think a flight of stairs behind would be more accurate (as are the rest of us)

  • Comment number 56.

    Not sure you can call 3 games a 'golden spell of form'. No doubt he and Utd have made a superb start to the season (as city have as well). He looks fresh, seems full of ideas, is creating chances as well as scoring. Let's hope he can maintain it, especially for England, where recently he has seemed to lack spark and been far from his best.

  • Comment number 57.

    Yeah I must have missed his wondrous performance against Barcelona too.
    Can't believe the hysteria about two three kicks and a penalty. For a man who was so out-of-form last season to speculate on a former teammates career though is astonishing - who does he think he is?

  • Comment number 58.

    Just pointing out, Im not a Utd. fan lad lol

  • Comment number 59.

    And where did Rooney spend that time relaxing?????????...............Beautiful BARBADOS........nuff said

  • Comment number 60.

    Last years Rooney show was a masterclass by SAF on how to manage the vulture like media.

    When Rooney's personal life got in the way of his performance SAF and Rooney's camp turned the spotlight so expertly that any illusionist would be proud. Rooney leaving OT for Madrid was the biggest and best turned trick that everyone fell for and allowed Rooney the time and space to fix his domestic problems with the spotlight reversed. I think that was a big deal in Rooney finding his form. He plays better the more he is loved by everyone and the personal problems he made for himself got in the way...Now OT faithful love him, England loves him, and he is back!

  • Comment number 61.

    60. At 14:29 31st Aug 2011, craigeaton78 wrote:
    -----------------------------------------------

    Are you saying the story of Rooney leaving was not actually fact? I tend to think it was a ploy by Ferguson and Rooney to get the Glazers to spend the cash this year. I also tend to think it worked really well.

  • Comment number 62.

    What I'm saying is the seagulls follow the trawler because there might be some sardines trowed over and SAF thew a dead whale when they seagulls attack the deck and the seagulls love it.

  • Comment number 63.

    THIS SEASON GIVE SOME BREATHING SPACE FOR ROONEY THEN YOU WILL SEE A FEROCIOUS STRIKER IN HIM BUT WHATEVER HAPPENS HE NOT GOING TO BE THE TOP STRIKER

  • Comment number 64.

    @52- reccy bra...

    So I guess you are also one of these people who thinks he's not allowed to get tired because he's on 200k a week. (approx).

    Still no link whatsoever between his wage and being tired.

    What if I was to say to you 'You get £3000 a month for your 16hours a day, 6 days a week so what are you complaining about?'.

    Do you not think I sound silly just like you?

    I've yet to hear a valid reason between tiredness and wages for footballers.
    Why? Because there isn't one.

    Do people really expect someone like Samuel E'to for example' on £300k a week not to get tired?!

    Makes no sense.

    What about a lower league player?
    Let's take a centre forward for Barnet for example.
    Is he allowed to be tired because he's on peanuts compared to Rooney?

    There is no link whatsoever.
    One valid reason. That's all I ask.
    (jealousy I not a reason)

  • Comment number 65.

    "32. At 10:15 31st Aug 2011, collie21 wrote:
    30. At 10:05 31st Aug 2011, SoccerLimey wrote:
    ....................................
    I think most of the credit should go to Ferguson and his decision to use Rooney in his new role as a midfielder sitting behind the strikers.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------
    For the last 3 years people on 606 on Beeb blogs and any where else have been posting to put Rooney in midfield...Fergie is a bit slow catching on."

    Sorry but that's nonsense. We play two in midfield, and an extremely fluid attacking four. Neither of those two are Rooney. Rooney is not a midfielder as Ferguson himself stated only this Summer - he has an instinctive method of playing and doesn't read the flow of a game like someone like Scholes, but reacts instantly to the movement around him.

    Rooney's worst games are when he is tracking back as a midfielder normally would. In fact against Arsenal we started going off the boil late in the first half because he started tracking back and left Welbeck isolated. When Young started tracking back, the whole team and Rooney started making things tick up front again.

    He had one game playing in midfield in Europe one match a couple of years ago and he did a decent job in a game that was already won - I think it Copenhagen, not sure.

    Fergie a little slow? Please.

  • Comment number 66.

    If an athlete is so superior to his fellow professionals that he can earn two three or ten times as much then that athlete should be at least as dedicated if not more to his profession than his peers.

    Look at how many games the top players at Barcelona have played in over the last two or three seasons. How often do you hear of Xavi or Messi being tired? Total dedication to the sport is what I expect if my ticket money is lining these primadonna's pockets, not going off whoring, urinating in the street and swearing into TV cameras. There is a direct link between the money a player is supposedly worth and the dedication and professionalism we should expect from them in return. I would have added loyalty as well, but that's another story.

  • Comment number 67.

    Phil why do you insist on trying to make excuses for Rooney's poor performances last season? It makes you look silly. Players go in and out of form and have bad games. To say his non-show at the world cup was down to boredom is quite frankly laughable and you must know that yourself.
    This season he has played well and currently lies second behind Dzeko in terms of goalscorers another player who had a poor season last season but one which you were more critical of at the time. Was Dzeko bored last season as well? All we want from football pundits is consistency!

  • Comment number 68.

    #66 "Total dedication to the sport is what I expect if my ticket money is lining these primadonna's pockets, not going off whoring, urinating in the street and swearing into TV cameras."

    To be fair to him I think he was preparing for his move to City. They have no qualms paying huge wages for very little quality, or a particularly good attitude. He was probably modelling himself on Tevez.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think it is cos of the hair.....that is his great strength...
    return of hair (although funny looking) coincides with return of form.

  • Comment number 70.

    65, exactly.

    61, you have to be joking? please tell me you're joking. Rooney was just talking out of his behind, no doubt got himself tapped up as well, and was pacified by a massive pay hike. Anyone who seriously thinks United weren't going to spend money in the transfer market this summer is deluding themselves. Pull that green and gold bar scarf out of your eyes.

  • Comment number 71.

    "69. At 15:07 31st Aug 2011, arsenalforlife wrote:
    I think it is cos of the hair.....that is his great strength...
    return of hair (although funny looking) coincides with return of form."

    Well he is looking at Giggs outstripping him in every area despite being twelve years his superior. Its bound to have an effect;)

  • Comment number 72.

    @66 trawler....

    Agree with everything you said apart from the tried bit.
    Messi, Iniesta, etc don't get as tired as EPL players because they play less games and they have a winter break.

    In England we have the league cup and FA cup matches at weekends which doesn't help. Then have to squeeze in prem games.

    In winter most of Europe have two weeks off and the prem have 5 games in 9 days!!

    Not right!
    And sone people think they shouldn't get tired because they have a healthy bank balance!

  • Comment number 73.

    I think the addition of Ashley Young into our squad has made an amzing effect. He is able to link up with Evra and rooney fantastically. secondly, i feel very happy with the way our young team is performing. anderson has come good out of carrick and scolesy's shadow. cleverley is simply fantastic but i fear his inexperience may cost us against teams like chelsea and man city. i have every belief in his potential and talent but we need rock solid defending midfielder. i may try phil jones in that position. somehow it seems to me as a very excellent prospect.

  • Comment number 74.

    Reccy,

    You get 3 grand a month because you do a job virtually anyone could do. Rooney gets 200 grand a week becuase he does a job only a handful of people in the world can do. It's got nothing to do with how hard you work. Gold is worth more than what you talk because there's less of it - a lot less. Same thing.

    Ho and if athletic ability is all about how much you get paid will we win all the 100 metres at the Olympics if we give our sprinters more money that Bolt?

  • Comment number 75.

    68. At 15:06 31st Aug 2011, United Dreamer wrote:
    #66 "Total dedication to the sport is what I expect if my ticket money is lining these primadonna's pockets, not going off whoring, urinating in the street and swearing into TV cameras."

    To be fair to him I think he was preparing for his move to City. They have no qualms paying huge wages for very little quality, or a particularly good attitude. He was probably modelling himself on Tevez.

    ------------------------------------------------------------


    Change the record will you

  • Comment number 76.

    60, 61

    could of been either or a combo, as strachan said on goals on sunday last week that fergie is prob the world's top sports(well not only sports in my view) phsycologist. and i'd agree with that.

  • Comment number 77.

    New hair, New Pay-packet, "Join CITY and Your Dead".

    No wonder lads playing better.

  • Comment number 78.

    ...and I thought it was his recent hair transplant that made the difference to his revitalised outlook

  • Comment number 79.

    "77. At 16:02 31st Aug 2011, Bertie Button wrote:
    New hair, New Pay-packet, "Join CITY and Your Dead".

    No wonder lads playing better."

    Best motivational speech Fergie ever made!

  • Comment number 80.

    79.At 16:11 31st Aug 2011, United Dreamer wrote:
    "77. At 16:02 31st Aug 2011, Bertie Button wrote:
    New hair, New Pay-packet, "Join CITY and Your Dead".

    No wonder lads playing better."

    Best motivational speech Fergie ever made!

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Was he wearing a Ski Mask when delivering so-called motivational speech?

  • Comment number 81.

    72 zeemo

    you need to factor in that at a club like united rooney is not only paid an astronomical sum of cash, but he also has loads of games off, is helped by having the best players to play with, and has his every whim pandered to in terms of the club facilities. the bigger the club and the more money there is the easier all these things are. apart from worrying about which accountant will get him the best tax breaks what does he have to worry about in terms of paying the bills outside the pitch? Nothing at all.

    A player can't play at the top of his possibilities indefinitely, and especially ball players who get a lot of stick off defenders with little protection. But Rooney only played about 40 games last season, and not many more than that in any other recently.

    It's all about being professional, looking after yourself mentally and physically, behaving like a player earning tens of millions of pounds per contract should behave and doing everything he can to ensure he has the best chance of bringing his best game to the pitch. If Rooney really is going to do that this season then it's about time.

  • Comment number 82.

    cleverley is simply fantastic but i fear his inexperience may cost us against teams like chelsea and man city.
    =


    Like in the charity shield when City didn't touch the ball for 80 minutes?

  • Comment number 83.

    Rooney is a joy to watch all the way from Arizona with my sons who love him. He plays hard and has fun. What I love about him is how hard he plays, when Nani missed him with a pass late in the game, he gets mad then his mate Giggs comes in and gives him a beautiful pass that he heads in the back of the net. His desire to win and have fun is what makes him special. He will lead the league in goals this year and he looks very fit.

  • Comment number 84.

    3 games in and he's player of the season?! Give it a rest. As someone above said, a few games ago he was a ghost against Barca. Maybe he'll be "tired" again in a few games? Also, did someone above really say England will be feared next summer..... There's just no perspective in any of it. The greatest trick Rooney ever did was threaten to leave "lack of ambition" United then got a pay rise and the fans to sing his name. If you want to believe that was some secret ploy by Fergie to get the Glazers spending you're just deluded. He held United to ransom and they buckled - it was embarrassing.

  • Comment number 85.

    83 yeah and I dare say what you ignore is the way Hernandez does the same thing as Nani and gets no stick off Rooney. It's not as if Rooney's own decision-making is even top drawer anyway either. It is superb to see him in good touch and buzzing early doors this season, but there's a long way to go. I suspect that if his form drops off he won't have the cheek to question the ability of his team mates this time around.

  • Comment number 86.

    84 you're half right. The bit you're wrong about is that it wasn't embarrassing at all that United opted to give the player a pay rise. It's not as if they couldn't afford it. It was a deliberate strategic move to show their financial muscle to the rest of football, and it ensured that Fergie got to keep a player who he has invested 5 years of technical and tactical coaching into making the fulcrum of his next potentially great young side.

  • Comment number 87.

    #80 Of course that's the real reason he never went to City. Have to love the delusions of a bertie.

    But this season they have to succeed. Half a billion spent and no premiership, and the best team. No excuses this year bertie boys! You're the favourites, appointed by yourselves.

    #85 More good points. Rooney knows who the most talented player in the squad is. At least his team-mates do;)

  • Comment number 88.

    #84, how many ghosts have scored an equaliser in a champions league final? Not much Rooney can do when Barca outclass United in the middle of the pitch

  • Comment number 89.

    Phil, after 8 or 9 seasons in the Premier League we know exactly how good Wayne Rooney is, and thats not going to change greatly in his remaining 4 to 5 years at the top.

    In a season he will normally have 3 excellent months, 3 below average and 3 average, these will include at some point a couple of spectacular goals, lengthy suspensions and a few injuries.

    He is not great in the Pele, Messi, Maradonna Cruyff, George Best sense but a very good footballer, in the Scholes, Giggs, Cantona, Dalglish and Keane bracket.

    At times he is awful with no touch, pace or discipline and when it really matters for England (other than a few matches in Euro 2004) he has been poor. But his passing and awareness of team mates is generally top notch and deadly.

    In conclusion he is a very good player, but not as good as we thought he would be, and not as good as the English press and Match of the Day team tell us he is.

    ,

  • Comment number 90.

    87.At 16:52 31st Aug 2011, United Dreamer wrote:
    #80 Of course that's the real reason he never went to City. Have to love the delusions of a bertie.

    But this season they have to succeed. Half a billion spent and no premiership, and the best team. No excuses this year bertie boys! You're the favourites, appointed by yourselves.

    #85 More good points. Rooney knows who the most talented player in the squad is. At least his team-mates do;)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------Yawnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Money spent, blah, blah, blah.

  • Comment number 91.

    Rooney would be warming the bench at the Etihad. We have the mighty Dzeko, leading PL goal scorer I believe?

  • Comment number 92.

    It doesn't bother me that people show their biases here. Some actually are based on some sense of reality.

    Is WR the best player in the world? No, but he's much better than average and should be grouped right behind the truly outstanding players in the world. That said, he is and always will be a game changer. He's the right player to lead this team.

    What I've been impressed with so far is the solidarity shown by the entire team. They are playing for each other. There's certain to be some struggles at some point in the season, but these players are in for each other. I expect this to continue.

    For me the most significant moment of the Arsenal game is when the team mobbed our embattled GK after the penalty save. That was better than the several good goals scored.

    As to rich players getting tired--it's not just the matches you play. It's all the training sessions too. When I was fit enough to stll play sports (too old now) the practices were much more demanding than the matches. Matches were almost like a vacation.

    United is built to give players some rest. That's why you pay for big squads. When people get tired or hurt you plug somebody else in. This is why all the other big clubs are always looking for depth and invest heavily for those extra pieces that win titles.

    Last thought on WR--when he wasn't playing well he had a series of foot injuries. He finally looks like he's healed. Something to do with the time off?

  • Comment number 93.

    Yawnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Money spent, blah, blah, blah.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So despite spending millions upon millions on big name players and then giving all of them seemingly at very least £100'000 a week, there isn't any expectation that City should be winning the league?

  • Comment number 94.

    Phil,

    Only 3 Premier League matches played and you have started up your 'Rooney Blog Obsession'. Please try something else.

    Lets face it that Arsenal defence wasn't even Championship standard

  • Comment number 95.

    Phil - this is your third blog in a row dealing specifically with Manchester United and the sixth out of seven concerning either Man utd or Arsenal. Given that your blog remit claims that you "cover the biggest, best, most interesting and most hotly-debated sport in the world", can we expect some variation from you in the near future? Perhaps even something not about football?

  • Comment number 96.

    93.At 17:27 31st Aug 2011, We all follow United wrote:
    Yawnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Money spent, blah, blah, blah.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    So despite spending millions upon millions on big name players and then giving all of them seemingly at very least £100'000 a week, there isn't any expectation that City should be winning the league?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I find the money comment tedius. Manchester Utd have spent fortunes over the last 20 years improving their team. CITY spent a fortune over the last 3 years improving their team. What is the difference?

    The expectation from most CITY fans is IMPROVEMENT. Two years ago we finished 5th, losing a semi final.

    Last year we finished 3rd, winning the FA Cup, improvement? I believe yes.

    Last year the media pasted us with the "boring" tag, maybe because we had the 2nd best defenisve record in the league. This year we are branded "entertainers" when in reality Mr. Mancini as not changed much. This year we are playing with a little bit of "swagger" built on the fact we gained a huge boost of confidence from winning the FA Cup.

    Do I believe CITY will win the league? Not sure. Should they be winning the league? Perhaps. Are the currently playing good football? I believe yes.

    The ironary is that UTD fans talk about Ferguson building a team, when in fact that building process consisted of a lot of "buying".

    I changed my user name to "Bertie" not sure what it means, I presume its in reference to one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, the mighty "Bert Trautman". If so, thanks.

  • Comment number 97.

    @95 - maybe because they correspond with 1st match between traditional powers. No doubt you'll see a run of similar stories as the big matches occur. Want to bet against a slew of stories about United and Chelsea as that match gets closer. Or Chelsea/Arsenal, Arsenal/Liverpool, City/United, etc....

  • Comment number 98.

    I absolutely love Rooney and how he plays for united. I remember when he signed, it was the most excited id been about a signing since Cantona! Last year i think was an end of an era in Rooney's career. We are now entering 'phase two' the prime years and I truly think that we'l see the best of rooney over the next 5 yrs. I just hope that he can stay relatively injury free.

    @collie21: with the greatest of respect you dont seem to realise what Rooney's actual position in the side is!!! he is certainly not a midfielder, and your comment about SAF doesnt even merit a reply. United dreamer is spot on.

    @ Reccy - I fit into a bra comfortably: Dude nobody cares what you do for a living or how much you earn. Footballers are entertainers who perform live, week in week out. Is your performance at work scrutinised by millions as you are doing it? and then scrutinised in minutia for days on end by millions more? Nobody bats an eyelid when an actor earns £30m for shooting a film or whatever, yet footballers give us a live feature length performance every week, probably watched by more people than most films are in the case of teams like United. Also in sporting terms footballers are not the highest earners.....in the top 20 sportsmen/women in the world only 2 footballers feature (CR and LM, although SE will soon join them) and they are pretty well down the list.

  • Comment number 99.

    @84

    The greatest trick Rooney ever did was threaten to leave "lack of ambition" United then got a pay rise and the fans to sing his name. If you want to believe that was some secret ploy by Fergie to get the Glazers spending you're just deluded. He held United to ransom and they buckled - it was embarrassing.
    ===============================================================
    Do you think even the United fans who threatened to kill him outside his house if he left United are singing his name?

  • Comment number 100.

    @98 - I've always seen Rooney as the next Cantona. I think that's the best comparison with another player. He's built and has the attitude for that role.

 

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