Mark in Durham, on BBC Radio 5 live after England’s 1-0 win over Estonia:
“Wayne Rooney is not worth his place in the starting line-up. People talk about him in the same breath as someone like Cristiano Ronaldo, but that miss tonight in the 93rd minute could have cost us a goal that could cost us qualification.”
BBC Sport pundit Danny Mills, in reply:
“But that’s a massive thing. Wayne Rooney is still a quality player. He might be suffering with confidence, but when that one moment came this evening, he scored it. No-one else did.”
The form of Wayne Rooney in England’s context is in a never-ending debate. Since his brilliant performance exactly 10 years back in Euro 2004, he hasn’t been as exceptional as we thought he would be.
The Englishman scored a staggering 6 goals in qualifiers final games. He was only 18 back then. Compared to the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, he has netted 43 times in 99 games for England.
We cannot solely blame the ex-forward as in recent years, we saw him switch from a striker’s role to more of a playmaking role for both Manchester United and England. But has he really lived up to his full potential?
He is only 6 goals behind record-holder Sir Bobby Charlton who scored 49 goals in 106 appearances. People judge the English international for his lack of performance in big tournaments and after being handed over the captain’s armband, it is apparent the crowd has split in two section- backers and critics.
However, the recent games have provided enough evidence of his potential. He is undoubtedly one of the most prolific forwards in England. Praised by many, he still awaits a major tournament medal. We can only hope for the best for the upcoming Euros.
With the introduction of world-class players as Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, we should expect to see a different or an earlier version of Wazza. In any case, we doubt his services for the next major tournament after the Euros.
Approaching his 100th cap for England, we could then assess the 28-year-old forward’s maturity and if he is actually an ‘England Great’. But for now, he has been a very good player but not the one he threatened to be all those years back at the Euros.
Even though his form is debatable, his performances and crucial goals for his teams suggest that he is still an important member of the team. But the real question is has he got more potential or is he at his peak for the national side?