What next for Everton's Wayne Rooney?
It was supposed to be a rekindled love affair with his boyhood club. Boy leaves club for bigger club. Does great things and not so great things. Then returns home to show the next generation the way. Wayne Rooney's Everton sequel has been a mixed performance. With pressure mounting on Sam Allardyce, Rooney suddenly seems dispensable. He could be the odd man out in the summer should the club hierarchy decide to let Allardyce leave and opt for the younger, tactically flexible manager Goodison Park faithful crave so badly.
Rooney was let go by Jose Mourinho at United after a single season together. The Portuguese acknowledged the striker was no longer the same player. His last season at Old Trafford was humiliating. Younger, faster players were regularly selected before him in the matchday squad. At Everton, he may need to face the stark reality his levels don't meet those expected from a Premier League player.
A new boss is expected to be announced on the blue half of Merseyside in the summer. Possibly Paulo Fonseca. The Shakhtar Donetsk boss is famed for his full-octane, high-intensity style, a philosophy in which Rooney doesn't fit. His wages would be a problem. He is the club's highest earner, which won't go down well with other stars. They can see he has tailed off in recent months. Big Sam has left him out of the starting XI often of late. His presence in the lineup against Huddersfield was viewed as a mandate from higher up the chain, possibly to put him in the shop window for potential clients. He sat again against Southampton.
With over 200 league goals and 100 assists, Rooney has done very well, but he must see the truth. He has lost his knack for scoring, doesn’t influence matches like before, and is no longer a physical force. It has become an embarrassing sight to see that Wayne Rooney can’t cut it at Everton, the club he holds so dearly.
MLS and China represent good countries to earn a career payday after leaving Everton. His profile, clout, and quality will be suited to those leagues.
At nearly 33, he is still young enough to play in Europe, but the number of games he has played in his career are staggering. The fact that he was not one to look after his body well has affected him. Rooney never stressed his fitness and is now paying the price. He can’t play as a striker anymore. He doesn’t have the pace and awareness to cut it as a central midfielder.
Few can forget the swashbuckling Wayne Rooney of Euro 2004, powering his way to goal with that amazing blend of intelligence and physicality. Unfortunately, the one clinging hardest to that memory is the man himself.
He is a distraction at Everton at the moment. Leaving is now the best way to help his club. He has fulfilled his life dream of seeing his children watch him play for his darling club. It’s time to go.