Wayne Rooney will, on paper, go down as a Manchester United legend, after all he broke a goal scoring record which lasted the best part of half a century. He, however, wont be missed in the stands of Old Trafford in the same way as other players who’ve left the club have been. Don’t get me wrong, his achievements have, and will always be, appreciated by the fans, and his name will still be sung, but even Diego Forlan and Anderson’s name are still sung by the most vocal United fans, so this doesn’t mean your missed.
Rooney, may have broke a long standing club goal scoring record, and he is the national sides leading goal scorer, yet he never truly found a natural position at Manchester United. United bought him to be a number 10, play behind a main striker, support the play and get goals and assists. At times he did this, and he did it well, but he would sometimes be bypassed by the game, especially during the final few seasons at Old Trafford. He was played up top on his own, yet again sometimes proving effective yet at other times seeming isolated without support, so would find himself dropping deeper and deeper. He was played out on the left or in centre midfield all again showing his natural footballing ability but at other times showing him to be uncomfortable or to not have the discipline required to stay in the position he was supposed to be.
Rooney will leave behind many a good memory for United fans, his goal against Newcastle which he thundered in under the bar will always be remembered, as will his overhead kick against City to win a Manchester Derby. He has won every trophy available to a United player whilst at the club as well as personal accolades.
United fans will be thankful for what he gave on the pitch, especially in the early seasons, when he was like a bull in a China shop charging around the pitch to win the ball back no matter where it was. However, unfortunately, his stay lasted a couple of seasons too long and the gloss of a player who was hyped up by the press as our best player in a generation, faded quickly.
A player who was often referred to as a street player and for one who loves the game, it started to look like he didn’t enjoy it anymore, as his stay at United went on. His touch became heavy, his passing wayward and his fitness started to come more and more into question. You can only hope his return to Everton rekindles his love for the game and shows the league and the world his footballing ability again.
Wayne isn’t loved by every United fan, not in the way you would expect from someone who has done so much at the club. The problem he faced was, even at his prime, he was in a team with one of the best players of our generation, Ronaldo. Equally, the clubs golden generation, the Class of 92, were still knocking about, and players who seemed to take the club to heart; such as Ferdinand and Vidic, won favour from the fans. This meant Rooney was always going to struggle to win over every United fan, especially being a scouser.
His behavior off of the pitch didn’t help, don’t get me wrong United legends haven’t always been clean living, one club men, just look at George Best, but to twice declare you want to leave the club to sign a new contract weeks later for more money doesn’t endear you to the fans. His ability to be on the front page and back page of the papers were something United fans didn’t enjoy, whether it for partying to hard on holiday, having a few beers & cigarettes before games or the allegations of his use of escorts whilst being in a relationship. These were things which frustrated fans and the club hierarchy equally, although his being KO’d in his kitchen did give us a great goal celebration.
Wayne won’t be missed in the pitch due to his poor form over the past few seasons, yet he will be remembered for what he contributed to the club. He will go into the history books as both a United and England legend, thanks to his ability to score goals each season, but it remains to be seen if he will be talked about on the terraces in 50 years time, like the true legends of football clubs tend to be.