“The match night will obviously be special for me and my family but I hope it will be a night of celebration for all involved and that we can also deliver one or two surprises.” said Wayne Rooney, on the occasion of an official statement by Manchester United that their club captain will be granted a testimonial.
The 12 year-long club servant will be honoured with a testimonial game on 3 August 2016 at Old Trafford, following a campaign by the supporters to honour the strikera s contribution. The announcement comes on the back of a poor derby day result for United as the 170 . th Manchester derby on Sunday ended in a goalless draw, a first since November 2010.
Wayne Rooney who turned 30 a day before the game, though couldna t gift himself the derby result he was looking for. And when considering the noticeable absentees in the visiting Manchester City side, it is certainly a missed opportunity for Louis Van Gaala s United. In fact, the United No. 9 had yet another poor game, which now extends his terrible run of form even further.
With a lot of the United faithful calling for their captain to be dropped. The former Evertonian who just celebrated his a big birthdaya , struggling to find his former form – receives the testimonial announcement by United at an indifferent time in his career.
The Celebration of a player that was?
a I am delighted that United fans will be able to celebrate Waynea s amazing years at the club in this way,a said Ed Woodward, the Executive vice-chairman of Manchester United.
a From his sensational debut hat-trick to the latest of his 236 goals, he has been a central figure in what has been one of the most successful periods in the cluba s history, winning everything from the Club World Cup, through the Champions League and League Cup to his five Premier League titles.a Uniteda s vice-chairman indeed talked up the glory that this footballer deserves for his long years of service at this club.
But for many of the United faithful, the English captaina s so-called a faithfulnessa will always be a question mark. Before until David Moyes strapped him down with the Premier Leaguea s costliest contract and Van Gaal trampled over Robin Van Persie to gift him the captaina s armband; Wayne Rooney had attempted to force a move away from United, not once but twice, and that too to one of the cluba s most hated rivals (the other side of town).
Yes, the English striker, just like his recent upheaval of Sir Bobby Charlton to become Englanda s top scorer, will almost certainly go on to become the cluba s leading goal scorer, now just 13 behind Sir Charltona s record of 249. Soa
Is he Englanda s best-ever? Is he one of the footballing legends? In the future will he be talked about in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo? Yes, yes and yes. Wayne Rooney is a player who has done so much for this game, that only a very handful of players can dream to achieve.
But at 30 years old, a career that started at an early age of 16, the Englishman is slowly starting to fade a a talent who merely reflects the image of the exciting young player he was.
It is certainly not that the English captain has lost his passion for the game. The shoulder barge on Nicolas Otamendi, from Citya s set-piece in the dying minutes of the game, proves different – it very well could have been an entirely different result otherwise. But is that what a striker should be praised for? For defending his teama s penalty box? Everyone knows Rooneya s industriousness and his hunger for the ball, the English captain would chase down a cheetah if it had a ball in its moutha well the 16-year old Rooney, just might have!!
Martial to marshal the United attack?
Manchester United have been so poor in the final third of the game and with Rooney playing the lone striker up front, it is no surprise that the captain takes the fall for the teama s blunt attacking display. The English captain has been himself miserable with countless number of possession losses, an equivalent count of miss passes, he simply isna t the striker he was anymore. And in stark contrast, the 19-year old Anthony Martial playing on Rooneya s left, running at defenders and visibly terrorizing every side hea s played against a it is quite easy to make a certain conclusion.
Following the miserable first-half of the Manchester derby, twitter was aflood with banter that the City captain Vincent Kompany sitting on a yellow card is a red waiting to happen. Just throw Martial in front and its job done! Van Gaal though, of course had different ideas, as he played the same formation with Rooney stuck out front and the game ended a drab draw with United attempting only 3 shots on goal.
Rooneya s continued presence in the team despite his poor form is only stifling the prolific youngster that Martial is. And with the United faithful already calling for a clean swap between this new found talent and their club captain, it is bound to happen sooner or later. But as of now Van Gaala s faith in Rooney is still rock solid.
Van Gaala s misplaced faitha
Van Gaala s continued perseverance with Rooney despite his poor form, when considering the Dutchmana s treatment of other players, shows that the coach clearly places the club captain on a pedestal above the rest of the team. Even vice-captain Michael Carrick has been frozen out of the squad following Uniteda s 3-0 loss at Arsenal.
It is very strange on Van Gaala s part as the Dutchman has no such precedence for any player, fellow countryman Van Persie could tell anyone all about that. And this has encouraged many to believe that the former Evertonian has details in his new contract which makes him a undroppable.a Ridiculous as it sounds, at the time when Moyes took over with half the veterans ready to leave, had Rooney also left – for Jos Mourinhoa s Chelsea, it would have been an identity crisis for United. So it does make sense to believe that Rooney got the better part of the deal in such a situation, but still ita s a bit over the top to think that Rooney has his thumb pressed down on the United administration.
a could yet deliver a surprise or two.
Misplaced or otherwise, if Van Gaala s perseverance pays off ita s a job well done by the Dutchman. Ita s been more than a year and a half since the former Ajax coach took over at United and in this long period Rooney has not played even a single game up to his real potential. Maybe glimpses of the player he was, here and there, but nothing awe- inspiring. And even worse, right now hea s on the worst run of his career and it is clearly damaging Uniteda s title hopes.
Anthony Martial clearly is the top choice for Striker right now and with Rooney at No.10 not doing much to displace Ander Herrera, a week or two on the sidelines could initiate Rooneya s revival a a treatment Memphis Depay is undergoing right now. But the Dutchman clearly has no intention to drop Rooney, recently at a press conference when asked about his captain Van Gaal had this to say: “You have your opinion – write it. I don’t give any more answers about Wayne Rooney. I am sick of them.”
a Sick of thema he maybe as the Dutchman was with the a Why is Herrera not being picked?a question. In the end, the former Bayern coach was proved wrong. So does Rooney have what it takes to get past this rut in his career and go on to break even more records or is it time to say goodbye and celebrate the testimonial of a player that was?
Only time will tell and let us hope the English captain a can also deliver one or two surprises.a