Wayne Rooney – The new Emile Heskey?

by admin

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Wayne Rooney scored his first league goal since September as Manchester United crushed Wolves 4-1 on Saturday. But with all the analysis and comments that followed an eventful week for Rooney, one quote stood out.

As well as stating that ‘Wayne was brilliant’, United defender Phil Jones went on to say, ‘but he still has an influence on the team even when he is not scoring. People sometimes don’t take that into consideration. They look at his goal tally and think he is not doing well but he has been terrific for us.’

Sorry, but haven’t we heard this before somewhere? All those years of hearing various England managers harp on about the benefits of Emile Heskey, while neglecting to mention that a striker should be scoring goals, is firmly imprinted on many football brains.

I’m not suggesting Rooney and Heskey are the same. Rooney is undoubtedly more talented and has scored more goals than Heskey. There is the antidote to my bane. But there is a certain similarity with this idea of a striker who doesn’t need to score goals. Has Rooney created a new Heskey-esque role?

Rooney’s club form has been decent, but he is hardly prolific in front of goal. He has scored over 20 league goals only once in seven seasons. But for most, it is his international from which is of real concern.

Jack Wilshere felt the need to chip in recently with the bizarre comment that Rooney’s brain is ‘miles ahead of any England player.’ Really Jack? Unless you mean that Rooney is the first to think about kicking an opposition player for no reason, I would have to disagree.

Wilshere’s insightfulness continued as he stated: ‘He (Rooney) was on fire when he first came into the England team and now he is starting to do it again.’ Yes, Rooney made an impressive start to his international career, but he is nowhere near that form right now. In the last two years he has played 16 games for England and scored 3 goals. Darren Bent has a better record than that.

Rooney has 28 goals from 73 England appearances. By any striker’s standards, let alone England’s main man, that isn’t good enough. Look at Alan Shearer (63 apps, 30 goals), Gary Lineker (80 apps, 48 goals) or even other top international strikers, like David Villa (80 apps, 50 goals). This is what Rooney should aspire to if he wants to avoid more of the dreaded ‘consider his other skills’ waffle.

Rooney’s two-game ban at Euro 2012 will give other strikers, like Bent, a proper crack at the big time and perhaps show Rooney his place in the starting line-up is not guaranteed. Then again, perhaps Heskey can be coaxed out of international retirement.


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  • Shyam

    Either you are a stats person or you do not watch England or Man United games. For United at least (coz i follow them closely), it is more than clear that Rooney does not play the striker role, he more or less is the link between Forward and midfield. Yes he is the Sneijder that people have been calling out for. Its true that United doesnt have the creativity at the centre of the park but Rooney has been part of the creative trio(wingers). He cannot be classified as an out n out striker(and when he did play that role..in 09/10 he scored 34 goals missing a handful of games) and United dont play Barcelona-sque game for everybody to get on the score sheet…What England needs is a Van Nistelrooy or Hernandez to really make use of Rooney the creative force…Rooney loves to come deep and dictate games from within the midfield and strikers and he gets his fair share of games as well….Yet, you are right he did lose a spark he had when he was young, you never see him running at defenders, dribbling too much ..but then comparing him with Heskey is pure ignorance or plain stupidity!!

  • http://www.ukfootballfinder.co.uk Mystical Mike

    got to admit, Shyam has got a point!

    I’d love Rooney at Arsenal!

  • James Barnes

    It doesn’t work. He gets played to score goals, not to be some kind of creative force. I’m not sure who else is supposed to score for England if we accept it isn’t Rooney’s job! If he gets an assist, great. But he is nowhere near a player like Sneijder in terms of creativity. If he was then maybe United wouldn’t be linked with Sneijder every day! Like I said, I’m not suggesting Rooney and Heskey are the same. Obviously Rooney is a much better player. But this non-defined role that he seems to have adopted doesn’t work in a similar way to the Heskey situation of years ago. There is no point in saying he sacrifices goals for the good of the team when the team is struggling to score goals.

  • ashwath

    clearly what u state is plain stupid,nonsense and illiterate(in football) thing. rooney must have scored only 28 goals for england, but he is still the 8th time top scorer for england! and wayne rooney is that player who is there when u need a magic/miracle in the game. NOBODY CAN REPLACE HIM!!!!!!

  • Simon Meechan

    Depends how he’s seen to play, nothing too wrong with forwards who do not score a lot, as long as they’re contributing to goals. Which is why I still want to see him paired with Bent at Euro’s. Bent offers nothing but goals, Rooney everything else (and to be fair to him, goals as well).

    I liked Heskey for England though so maybe I’ll shut up.

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