Posts tagged ‘Rooney’

Wayne Rooney Goal – Any Others?

Wayne Rooney’s goal against Man City was pretty impressive to say the least. This got me thinking, what other great goals have been scored “inside the box“? There are plenty of great goals from 25 yards out but what about the great goals that were scored inside the box.

Here is Rooney’s goal. Send details of other goals you think are of the same quality.

Who Would Be Your Pick For Best Player?

Lionel Messi was just named as the FiFA world player of the year.  The awards were based on the votes of the coaches and captains of national teams as well as global journalists.

Messi scored more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues in 2010, with 42 goals in 36 La Liga games, as well as finishing top scorer in the Champions League in 2010 with 12 goals in 12 games. He totaled 60 goals for the year for club and country.

To be honest, I didn’t realize he had scored 42 goals in 36 La Liga games.  And quite frankly, that is an astonishing goal scoring record.  I can’t think offhand of any other player in modern times who has scored at more than a goal per game in one of the world’s top leagues.

Just a quick comparison with Wayne Rooney’s great 2009/10 season shows how good Messi was last year.  In the 2009/10 season, Rooney was incredible…at least he was for the first 2/3 of the season.  During that season Rooney had by far the best goals tally of his career so far with 26 goals in 32 EPL games.  So Messi’s 42 goals in just 36 La Liga games is at another level and almost beyond belief.

And this brings up another question.  Is Messi really the world’s best player?  I have a simple way of answering this question.  I don’t bother with what position the player plays or how he performed last season or any of those criteria.  I simply base it on picking the best team in the world and who would be my first pick, bearing in mind that someone else will have the next pick for his team.

In the past that pick has been players like Theirry Henry, Wayne Rooney, Steve Gerrard.  But today I don’t know if one particular player stands out to me.

So let me put the question out there.  If you were up against someone else and had the first pick to put together the best team you could, who would you pick and why?

What Was the Deal With Rooney?

What the heck was the Wayne Rooney drama all about this week?  I’ve never seen anything like it.  First, it surfaces that Rooney isn’t happy at Man U, that he doesn’t think Man U are going in the right direction to match his ambitions, and that he will not sign a new contract when his current one expires in the summer of 2012.

This just came totally out of the blue for me and I assume everyone else.  My first reaction was that he wanted out to get away from his personal troubles.  So I thought it would be a move to Italy or Spain that he was trying to engineer.  But as the days past, things got stranger and stranger and I just couldn’t make head nor tail of it.  Nothing seemed to make sense.

Then today, it’s announced that Rooney has signed a new five year contract with Man U.  So apparently Rooney has now decided that Man U DO HAVE what it takes to match his ambitions.

Like I said, all rather weird and strange if you ask me.  So what was the real reason behind this episode?  Here are my possibilities in no special order.  Please feel free to add your thoughts on this and what you think the reasons were in the comments section.

1.  Rooney simply wanted a longer/higher paid contract.
2.  Rooney had a falling out with Ferguson and Fergie bit the bullet in order to keep Rooney.
3.  Rooney did in fact want out of Manchester and maybe England because of his personal life but Fergie talked him out of it.
4.  Rooney is in a shaky state mentally, doesn’t know what he wants and is being advised by others to move.

Like I said, this whole thing baffles me.  I have no clue as to the real reason and would love to hear what others know or have heard.

A Winter Break?

Is it time for the EPL to have a winter break? I think the answer is yes, but it is highly unlikely to happen. Let’s take a look.

Players have petitioned for years that they need a break in the winter. I have mentioned on this blog numerous times that the EPL season is incredibly physical and this affects how the England National Team performs during the Euro Championships and World Cups. Injuries are high and the wear and tear effect is obvious.

Wayne Rooney is the current high profile player that is suggesting we need a winter break and he is actually a poster child for a good case of needing one. Last season he started like a house on fire. He was playing incredibly well and scoring goals as if it was going out of fashion. As the season took it’s toll (and possibly a cumulative effect of numerous seasons), he slowed somewhat, got injured and had ended it with poor performances in the World Cup.

It was often remarked that Patrick Vieira used to purposely get himself red carded during the winter so that he could take a much needed break. And if you look at some of his red cards, they were inexplicable, so there is probably some truth to this. Viera also famously asked Arsenal for a break just a couple of weeks into the season after a summer at the World Cup. Arsene Wenger has also campaigned over the years for a winter break.

But – Chances are, it won’t happen – at least not anytime soon. Why? Money and tradition.

The winter break would probably be set for Christmas and the New Year. But in England there is a tradition of playing games over the holiday period. Not only games, but more of them. Sometimes, depending on what day Christmas and New Year fall, there can be as many four games in 8-10 days. Add to this that these games typically have higher attendances than if they were played at other times and you can see why club owners are not going to give up on them easily.

I don’t know how the schedule would work, but maybe taking a break from Jan 5 – 25 or something might work. But I think something needs doing. It would certainly help the England National Team or at least give them one less excuse they could use for poor performances.

Name One EPL Player That Had a Good World Cup

I have been on record (prior to the World Cup, so not an excuse) as saying that one of the reasons England struggle in World Cups and Euro Championships is that the players are physically worn out from a season in the English Premier League.  Note, I said “one” of the reasons.  There are other factors that cause England’s below par performances in major championships.  But I want to focus on the effects the EPL season has on players.

first, we have to realize that the EPL is simply more physical, in terms of the amount of running, speed of play and the physical challenges, than other leagues.

The cold and wet weather should also be added to the equation.  Let me explain.  Spain and Italy for example have a warmer climate.  In England, the players often practice and play in temperatures slightly above freezing and it wet and windy conditions.  This means they have to run around like crazy just to keep warm.  Practicing in Spain or Italy when it is a nice 60F, is a different matter.  It’s much more comfortable and less taxing on the players.

So the climate is a factor.  It means more running around in practices and games than in a warmer climate.

Then compare the pace of an EPL game to that of one from Spain or Italy.  It’s as different as night and day.  The EPL games are incredibly fast and furious from the first minute to the last.  An Italian or Spanish game seem to be made up a slow build up followed by lightning fast play for a few seconds when near or in the penalty area.

The bottom line is I don’t think anyone can argue that the EPL takes a more physical toll on players than other leagues.

I also want to add to the equation, that there is a cumulative effect.  A 22 year old player will be less effected by this than a 28 or 30 year old.  Gerrard is a good example of this.  He has been a shadow of his former self this season and I would argue that the cumulative effect of the EPL has taken its toll and we are likely to not see him at his best again.  Rooney could be right on the beginning stages of this.

Yes other countries have players in the EPL, but practically all of England’s squad were EPL players.

But to attempt to further prove my theory, let me ask this question.

Name me one player who plays in the EPL, who had a good World Cup?  Torres, Rooney, Fabregas, Gerrard, are all superstar players, but didn’t perform.  Yes previous injuries were a factor in some of them, but that goes to my point about the EPL being physical as injuries are part of this.

The best example I can think of is Dirk Kyut and the best that can be said for him was that he had a “decent” World Cup.

If you can think of anyone else, post it in the Comments section.

So how can players like Forlan, who struggled at Man U, all of a sudden become a stud in the World Cup?  I don’t know, but I do think it wouldn’t have happened if he was still playing in the EPL.

England – Just Not Good Enough

I don’t want this to turn into a “England” blog, but once they are knocked out of the World Cup, that will be that, so I might as well say what I want to say now while I have the chance.

In the cold light of day, and after sleeping on it, I have to say that not only was the result one of the worst in years for England, but the performance was as bad as any I can remember in decades.  Yes we have lost games in the past against inferior opponents.  There have been too many times we haven’t qualified for the World Cup and the Euro Championships, but this game was different.

It was different because not only did England not beat an Algerian team that has only won 1 of 7 games leading up to this game, but the most shocking thing to me, (and this seems to be taking second place to the result) is that we were outplayed by Algeria.  They outworked us, they had more and better goal chances and even though England had the edge in possession, Algeria seemed to control much of the game.

Now I know the stats say that England outshot Algeria by 15-13, but take a look at the game and you will see that many of England’s shots were harmless efforts from well outside the box.  When you break it down to times where each team looked threatening, England were left wanting.  Poor ESPN had to really struggle to come up with a couple of lame clips they used as a poor excuse for England’s highlights.

I can remember bad results in the past.  The 2006 World Cup is a good example.  I don’t think England put together one good performance…just managing to scrape a result against inferior opponents until they ran into a Portugal team that was depleted of many of their starters due to previous yellow and red cards.  But I can’t really remember a time when England were actually outplayed by an inferior opponent.

Algeria’s only win in the last 7 games was a 1-0 win over the tiny United Arabe Emirates.  3-0 losses to Ireland and Serbia were other efforts.

So how did England get to this point?  Well I have written in the past few weeks about some of the reasons England don’t do well at World Cups.  The main one being, our players are pretty worn out after playing a hectic season in the most physical league in the world (EPL).  But although that is a factor, you have to look deeper than that.

The bottom line is, we just don’t seem to have the quality of players we once had.  Let’s break it down.

Players at or close to their peak - Rooney, Lampard, Johnson and Terry.

Players who are past their best – Gerrard, Carragher and Cole.

Players who wouldn’t get in the team in the past because they weren’t good enough - James, Lennon, Wright-Phillips and Heskey.

Gareth Barry kind of fits into all three categories.

So we only have four players who are good international players that are close to their peak.  Rooney is probably fatigued from the EPL season and accumulation of seasons.  Lampard never really performs well for England.  Johnson is okay and Terry is doing okay but personal problems might be affecting him somewhat.  So even our four quality players aren’t at their best.

Gerrard, Carragher and Cole are all quality players but have seen better days.  Gerrard is one of my favorite players but cumulative seasons in the EPL are taking their toll and this past season was well below par for him.  I’m afraid, he is finished as the powerful player he was.  Carragher shouldn’t even be in the squad and the fact that he is shows the lack of talent available to choose from.  Cole is simply filling space without being a weakness.

The others are simply not good enough.  Heskey for example has scored just 7 goals in 60 international games for England and can’t even keep a regular spot in the Aston Villa team.  Compare that to the likes of Linekar, Mariner or Shearer.  It’s not even close.

So on reflection, even if we had our better players on form and playing well, we still would have a tough time matching up against the stronger teams in South Africa.  No, I think the bottom line is we just don’t have the quality of players we are used to.  And I think we need to accept that and make things easier on ourselves as fans and reduce our crazy expectations.

Who Would Be Your First Pick?

Since I was kid, I have always enjoyed playing the game of choosing who you would pick as the first player in your team.  Not for the kick about game but when picking a team of the best players in the world…or for the England team.

So let me get right to it.  The first player I would pick for my team would be Wayne Rooney.  He’s got great ability, is as strong as an ox, has a great work ethic, can score goals and can make other players around him better.  All this adds up to a great player and great teammate.

Up until his sub par season this year, Gerrard was always in the same conversation as Rooney.  Sometimes I couldn’t choose between the two.

Does this mean I think Rooney is best player in the world if he is my number one choice?  Not necessarily, but I do think he could be the best player in the world, it depends on what attributes you value in a player.  He should definitely be in the discussion.

Of course, good arguments could be made for players like Ronaldo, Messi and others, and maybe I just value certain attributes over others, but I would rather coach a player like Rooney and have him as a teammate than Ronaldo or Messi.

So who would be your first pick?  Does it matter what position they play?  What attributes are important to you?