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Is Wayne Rooney Really Finished?



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For better or worse, the planets seem to be fatefully aligning at Manchester United of late – at least in terms of their striking options. The dismal trough of slurry in which Wayne Rooney currently finds himself knee-deep would certainly be a much more pressing issue in United circles were it not for the perceived shift in ‘talisman duties’ to one Dimitar Berbatov – who is finally hitting his stride/saunter at Old Trafford.

The Bulgarian, by incanting some form of occult Romany hex, has seen his lifeblood revitalised by draining Rooney of his very essence, leaving the latter a withered gammony husk  – although, that whole ‘hotel hooker romp’ thing may have also had a hand in his temporary demise, who can be sure?

Criticism is currently being levelled at Rooney from all quarters, but in a bizarre twist of ‘who asked you?-ness’ (not entirely certain that’s an actual word, but it’ll do), former black-eye dispenser and amateur anonymous sex enthusiast Stan Collymore has waded into the debate – telling Kick Off that he fears that it may be a case of ’24 and out’ for the United striker;

“I genuinely worry that we might have seen the best of Wayne Rooney for this reason – mentally now he’s going through lots of torment. We know that he’s brought it upon himself.

The issue is if you sell your wedding you are saying to people ‘I am happy for my daughter, my son, my mum to be there in the paper’. So you can’t then when things are going wrong, particularly if you put yourself in schtuck, to then say ‘stop at the front door’.

The problem isn’t just going to be about Wayne Rooney’s form, it’s going to be sitting at home. Whatever goes on with him and his wife it will be sorted out in the wash in however many months or years but the mental impact that that has on you, that every single time you go out you’re not just justifying your footballing ability but you’re justifying lots of other things.

The Nike advert that says I’m potentially going to be the World Cup’s best player has an impact and for that reason, I hope I eat my words and I’ll be very happy to eat my words, I think we’ve seen the best of Wayne Rooney.”

Collymore’s diatribe is more or less a straight rehash of the analysis Kevin Keegan gave ESPN after the Bolton game on Sunday, but there is one thing I’d like to pick old ‘Stanley Victor’ up on.

The importance of Rooney to Manchester United as a footballing entity is continually overstated and, as many have pointed out post-Lowrygate, he has always blown hot and cold in the past – regardless of where his penis was three months before.

I’m not about to turn around and say that Rooney isn’t a highly-serviceable footballer, he clearly is – you don’t get a ‘highlights’ reel as formidable as his without having at least a smidge of mercurial talent – but once he’s knocked off his media-appointed pedestal, it becomes increasingly apparent that ‘our Wayne’ spends a lot more game-time in his ‘stout pink chap with a scatter-gun work ethic’ guise than he does staging his ‘footballing demi-god’ routine.

Stan Collymore is no stranger to controversy

Anywho, United will have to make do without Rooney for their trip to the Mestalla to face Valencia in the Champions League tomorrow, after choosing to withdraw him from the squad to allow time for the ankle injury that forced him to limp from the field against Bolton at the weekend to heal sufficiently – at least, that’s the official line anyway.

After Rooney was replaced an hour in to his interpretive depiction of sheer monotony on Sunday afternoon, United’s assistant manager Mike Phelan immediately sprang to his defense – insisting that the aforementioned injury was to blame for the 24-year-old’s shortcomings;

“He has a little issue with his ankle. He has been playing with it for a couple of weeks now and we decided he wasn’t getting into the areas we wanted and he wasn’t getting chances, so we had to change it.”

Rooney’s omission from the United collective has been construed as a ‘major blow’ for manager Sir Alex Ferguson but, if the words of midfielder Darren Fletcher are anything to go by, it doesn’t seem that those closest to the nub are particularly phased by his impending absence;

“Sure, it’s going to be a difficult match. People might say that they will not be the same Valencia because they have lost [David’s] Villa and Silva, but as we have seen at Manchester United, when you lose good players others can step up to the mark and take on more responsibility.”

…possibly with the aid of gypsy curses.