IT’S not very often I agree with loud-mouthed pundit Robbie Savage but I do on this occasion; on the subject of Wayne Rooney.
A former Manchester United player himself, briefly as a kid, Savage cannot believe the stick Rooney gets after all he has done for club and country.
He’s the record goalscorer for Manchester United AND England, for heaven’s sake!
Okay, so he might not be at the absolute pinnacle of his game, but he’s still got plenty to offer and I’m surprised Jose Mourinho has used him so sparingly.
When the likes of Fellaini and Herrera are constantly being picked ahead of you, as you watch from the bench, maybe the writing is on the wall.
And, even when United’s star striker (Zlatan) was ruled out for the season, Mourinho turned to the kids (Rashford and Martial) rather than his experienced skipper.
Comments such as ‘past his sell-by date’ and ‘over the hill’ are disrespectful and little wonder Savage says Rooney, who has started just 22 games for United this season is ‘the most under-appreciated player in English football’.
Speaking on Radio 5 Live and as quoted on the BBC Sport website – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/39880891 – Savage says: “He gets hammered and yet he is Manchester United’s and England’s top scorer.
“The bottom line is that age and not playing regular games is catching up with him. He is not the player he was. But he is the most under-appreciated footballer we have seen in English football.”
Ever the pro, Rooney stepped up for the pre-match press conference (maybe suggesting he’ll start) and emphasised the massive importance of tonight’s second leg Europa League clash with Celta Vigo.
Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “This club needs to be playing in the Champions League and to do that next season we have to win the Europa League. This club will be successful under Jose Mourinho.”
Whether Rooney will still be at Old Trafford to share that success is still open to debate, especially given the captain’s pay-off line…I have been at this club 13 years, but I want to be playing football.
Watch this space.