If you thought Wayne Rooney made his return from the off season a little out of shape, you were right. About 7 extra kilograms out of shape, which brought to his early bad form for Manchester United, leading to the crazy transfer rumors, all hushed up now as the England forward is in recovery from his nasty injury.
Rooney himself admits that ‘he’s not Ryan Giggs, all made up of bone and muscles.’ Alex Ferguson himself once said about Giggs that he’s the only player he knows that never gains a single pound during the offseason – Wayne is no Ryan Giggs. Ryan has never put a pound on in his whole life. Wayne is a boy that needs games, you can see that from the frame he’s got. He is stocky, strong and really needs games, simple as that.
Rooney himself enjoyed what was probably the best season of his career last season, scoring 27 goals for United, missing out on the league title due to goal difference and missing out on the scoring title by three goals. Now he’s supposed to partner up with Robin van Persie, but that combination will have to wait a few more weeks, as Rooney slowly recovers from that nasty gash.
Coming back for pre-season after a few bevvies and a few weeks away from a ball is physically tough. As a striker I need to work hard all the time. I need to be sharp, which means my fitness has to be right to play well. If it isn’t, it shows. It would probably be different if I were a full-back. I could hide a bit, make fewer runs into the opposition half and get away with it. But as a centre-forward for Manchester United, there’s no place to hide.
It’s funny to see that Rooney’s best seasons come when Manhcester United fail to win the title. His only two seasons with more than 20 league goals have been the only two years over the last six in which the Red Devils didn’t get to lift the Barclay’s championship trophy at the end of the season. Anything to do with it? Relying too much on the forward might be an explanation. Another might suggest that it’s only a coincidence, which is probably the right one.
Again, it shouldn’t be hard to point out how crucial Rooney’s return is to United. True, they have Van Persie, but the rest of the forward pack – Welbeck, Hernandez, Macheda, are all a bit out of form and short of confidence, while not really being the most versatile of players when it comes to different positions on the pitch.
Rooney can play up front, on the wing or behind the striker, giving Ferguson a lot to work with and for when his no.10 returns. His next match, hopefully, will be when he isn’t more than a few pounds over the desired weight, but in actual good physical shape, only needing to dust off a little bit of rust.