Wayne Rooney has been firing for Manchester United in the early days of the season, while Paul Pogba has also shown his class in his two games so far for the Red Devils. However, both of them have been slammed by their respective national media for failing to inspire on international duty with England and France respectively.
The Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney has already notched up two assists and a goal in three games for the Red Devils in the Premier League so far. However, he wasn’t much of an influence in England’s World Cup qualifier against Slovakia, with the Three Lions eking out a narrow 1-0 win thanks to a late Adam Lallana goal.
One of the main points of criticism against Rooney has been his positioning. The 30-year-old started out in the No. 10 role, but drifted left and then into a more deeper position in the game against Slovakia. Manager Sam Allardyce swept aside questions regarding this, stating that the England captain could ‘play wherever he wants.’
Big Sam’s nonchalant attitude notwithstanding, pundits have slammed his free roaming role, calling for Rooney to focus on providing service to striker Harry Kane in the final third. Former Chelsea striker Chris Sutton was one of the most vocal critics, saying that it wasn’t ‘a testimonial’ and Rooney should participate in attacking play in the final third.
Wayne Rooney has been slowing down over the past couple of seasons, but it looks like the No. 10 role is the best position for him going forward. However, the question remains whether he is the best option for England in that role, with the likes of Ross Barkley and Dele Alli waiting on the wings for their chance to shine.
The world’s most expensive footballer looks ordinary
The Euro 2016 finalists got off to a good start in their World Cup qualifiers against Italy, winning 3-1. However, their second match proved to be disappointing for Les Blues as they were held to a goalless draw by Belarus, a side ranked 70th in the world.
The French team looked lackluster as a whole, with the oft criticized Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud managing to miss one of the chances of the game, but the long running criticism of 23-year-old central midfielder Paul Pogba continued after the game.
L’Equipe journalist Damien Degorre has expressed his disappointment at Pogba’s international performances. He bemoaned the fact that the highly rated youngster has failed to live up to his billing at the international stage, and said that his age is no excuse.
“Yesterday he celebrated his fortieth match since joining Les Bleus in March 2013, and in three years it is still difficult to pick a match which stuck in the mind and justified all the hopes and acclaim that has accompanied the player since his debut,” said the broadsheet of the French paper, as quoted by Sports Witness.
“Pogba is young? That is true. But at his age others already had a Ballon d’Or, the award that the French publicly admits he aspires to. Obviously he still has time to express all the talent attributed to him, but it is a shame to miss opportunities to distinguish himself as would have been the case in Borisov.”
Just like Rooney, Pogba had been given a free roaming role by French manager Didier Deschamps, as the defensive dynamo N’golo Kante took care of shielding the back four. The Frenchman, just like his English teammate, failed to do much with the freedom given to him by his national manager.
The 23-year-old will need to pick up his game for France and Manchester United in the coming weeks. The €110 million transfer fee is an added millstone around the neck of a player who is touted to be one of the best in the world in the near future.