Date:Sunday August 24 2008
Every sensible Manchester United fan knows how important Wayne Rooney is to our cause even though he rarely dribbles the length of the pitch and scores relatively few goals. We know he's one of the most important players of the squad and that his performances of last season were not below-par, only different to what people have expected of him.
However, he's come under fire for his England performances where the quality of his teammates is nowhere near to that of United and where he's expected to be the main attacking weapon. And with Ronaldo out until October (or November, reports are a bit confusing) it's time for Wayne to change his game a little and turn into a finisher from provider.
Sir Alex has also told him what is the problem with his game.
"If he is prepared to listen, he will stop galloping all over the pitch and will realise that although he has got a selfless nature about him he wants to be regarded as a goalscorer.
"He doesn`t want to stop being a team player but he has to be involved in more goals.
"He needs to concentrate on being around the edge of the box more but there is always a cross to bear when you have the reputation of being Wayne Rooney."
Which is true. Quite simply we have enough defensive players, we have enough great midfielders to do the tackling, to cover the field. Rooney should concentrate his energy to the attack - where we were lacking against Newcastle.
In the long term, if Berbatov indeed signs for us, when Ronaldo returns and Tevez will also be on the team, Rooney can revert to his favourite role: galloping all over the field and doing everything. It won't satisfy the England fans and pundits but who cares?
Rooney certainly doesn't.
"Maybe I could be more selfish but I will never change.
"I`ve always said I`m a team player. I`m not concerned about what people are saying. Everyone was talking about me scoring more goals but we won the Premier League and the Champions League last season, so if that happens again I would be delighted.'
Therefore, logically, Rooney has no objections to signing another forward - that would mean he'd have to spearhead the attack on fewer occasions and would have more freedom to roam. That's what he craves it seems.
'There would be an extra burden if we did not sign another striker,' said Rooney.
'Carlos likes to drop behind a main striker, which is probably his best position, so maybe I would have to stay up a bit more. I would have no problem with that.
'But hopefully we can bring another forward in to strengthen the team. It would allow us to spread the matches out and make changes for certain games.
And allow you, Wayne, to work your socks off all over the pitch. In the meantime, though, work a bit less hard, stay up front and wait for your chances. They will come and you've got to put them away.
Date:Sunday August 24 2008
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