Blogs & Opinion

The pain of Wayne

Why did Rooney fail to shine on the biggest stage of all?

Soccer Saturday Posted 30th June 2010 view comments

England's World Cup dreams ended in tatters - and here at we've asked some of our top pundits to pick through the wreckage.

Our Soccer Saturday panel - Matt Le Tissier, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Alan McInally - have taken time to reflect on England's disappointing efforts in South Africa, which ended after a 4-1 humbling by Germany in the last 16.

Rooney: where did it all go wrong?

Rooney: where did it all go wrong?

In the coming days, the panel will look at where it went wrong for Fabio Capello and the players - and what the future holds for both the head coach and for the national game.

But first we've asked them to look at the performance of England's talisman Wayne Rooney.

Hopes were high that the PFA Player of the Year would shine on the biggest stage of all after his best ever goalscoring season for Manchester United, but he failed to find the net in four matches and did not manage to recapture his club form.

Our experts tell us why they think it went wrong for the England striker... Hopes were high among many of you that this could have been Wayne Rooney's World Cup. What did you make of his performance out in South Africa?

MERSE: We played every game with 10 men because he just didn't turn up. We all sit here week after week on Soccer Saturday saying what a top, top player he is and you know that in any game for Manchester United he's going to do at least one thing that demonstrates that. Before the World Cup we were putting him alongside the Lionel Messi's of the world, but it is these tournaments that separate the good players from the unbelievable players. You can have good days and bad days but even on a bad day they do something, even one thing, that makes you think 'he's a player' - that hasn't been the case and it is hard to put them in the same breath, it really is.

CHARLIE: People are saying Rooney didn't turn up to this World Cup. Well I think he did. Unfortunately his manager didn't turn up with the right ideas to utilise him properly. The thing that is staring me in the face is the lack of change that Fabio Capello was prepared to negotiate with regards to his formation. Rooney's form this season deservedly won him the Player of the Year award and we've seen his whole game develop in the Premier League this season. He has scored more with his head than he's ever done and he has led the line from the front for Manchester United, while still linking up with the players around him. Everything was there, ready to go at the World Cup. However, if you start making Rooney be disciplined in a 4-4-2 system then you're only going to see the Wayne Rooney of three years ago. It was unnecessary and the manager got it badly wrong.

LE TISS: I think it looked like he wasn't 100 per cent. I think he was probably carrying a bit of an injury but he was also struggling to cope with the ball. I've never seen him miscontrol a ball so much or make so many passes which went astray. It really looked like he was struggling with it, which is strange for someone of his ability. He didn't hold the ball up at all and that's very unlike him.

MERSE: He started off badly and just didn't get any better. He must have been injured, because I can't think of anything he did in all four games. Maybe that four-yard pass to put in Steven Gerrard, but other than that, nothing. I'm sorry but something had to be wrong, because I was sat there feeling embarrassed that I have been calling him a top, top player.

CHARLIE: He might have had a niggle here or there, but for me it's nothing to do with fitness. Rooney's proved this season that he can come back and play well with a slight injury. The medical guys would have stopped him playing if there was a problem with him, so I just think excuses like that come out too quickly.

THOMMO: We never saw the Wayne Rooney that plays for Manchester United and I think it was a lot to do with the hype going into the World Cup finals. There was a lot written about the fact that he could get himself sent off and that he had to keep himself in check and make sure he didn't let the country down and I just don't think he could get down to playing his normal game. At Man Utd he's always chasing people down and getting tackles in and is generally quite aggressive on the pitch, but with England he was playing within himself and I just don't think he could function like that.

McINALLY: He had a poor World Cup and that was down to one thing - he wasn't fully fit after last season, simple as that. It had nothing to do with fear or form or anything else. After running the show for Manchester United last season I think he was just absolutely exhausted. End of.

CHARLIE: I don't think it was anything to do with that. I just think the formation and the set-up of the team was wrong. He was easier to mark in that formation, he got frustrated and came deeper, his best link-up man Steven Gerrard was playing wide on the left and they couldn't get Frank Lampard running in behind him because of the system. You can dress it up, but sadly I just think the manager got it wrong.

Comments (74)

Trevor Gordon (Middlesbrough fan) says...

rooney is a great premier league player,he's just not a great w orld cup player.not many people are.what did messi,ronoldo,torrez and frank lampard do?nothing special.but week in week out we get the best of wayne rooney.he play's with passion,pride,and a fighting spirit which many english player's don't have.rooney was not the problem in south africa,the whole england squad was the problem.when are we going to admit it that we are just not good enough at the international level.teams like brazil,argentina,italy and germany have it,we don't.

Posted 05:59 4th July 2010

Owais Siddiqui (Barcelona fan) says...

Now Wayne Rooney is a good player but he inst a great player who can literally destroy an opposition single handedly. Secondly English Media and Fans should get a reality check done, Stop the unnecessary pressure on the team and false expectations. England got kicked out of the world cup last week and now people are predicting a team for 2014 and expecting them to do well. Its 4 years and that's a long time. We may prolly see even see only 3-4 players from the current crop it all depends how the coach and team develop over the next 2-3 years. Now I would like all the premier league fans and lover get down from there high horse and see the stark reality. Worst Performers of WC 2010 till date. Rooney- English Premier League Lampard- English Premier League Gerrard - English Premier League Torres- English Premier League Terry- English Premier League Anelka- English Premier League Evra- English Premier League Italian Team is on that list but they had a retirement squad and scored more goals than England. Now lets see the Best Performers of WC 2010 till now: Villa- La liga Messi- La liga Ozil- Bundes Liga Sneijder- Seria A Higuain- La Liga Schweinsteiger-Bundes Liga The only player that made an impact from premiership can be Tevez. Now when the entire league produces a fail how can you expect the home country of such a league to win the world cup. England should look for 2018 resurgence but for that they need to add budget cap and foreign player limit to the clubs and in 8 years England may make it to semis and considered as a decent footballing country.

Posted 13:32 3rd July 2010

Martyn Crimmins (Manchester United fan) says...

A few questions answers this, did the way england play compliment rooney, did any player give him the service either from crosses or through balls, did he have more than 1 chance created for him in all 4 games. The Answer is NO, NO, NO. Is that down to him?, i think not.

Posted 11:45 3rd July 2010

Craig Johnson (Manchester United fan) says...

For Wayne Rooney read John Barnes. Whilst i love Wayne when he is belting them in for my team i can't help but feel he will only look world class against lesser opposition in qualifiers or friendlies. He doesn't seem to produce on the biggest stage or the matches that matter for England. Also, my fellow Utd fans pleeeease stop this 'us against the world' mentality. Rather than give a constructive view on someones comment, if it involves Rooney or any of our players it's always the same 'what about Gerrard?' or 'what about Lampard?' or 'what about Terry?' You can see my point, it's why everyone hates us, we don't show any grace when we win, are awful losers and rather than articulate an argument on this topic we just mud sling at other clubs. It's so childish! Wayne is a forward, he was taken to the World Cup as someone to score goals, how many did he score? NONE! I don't agree that he should get all the blame but certainly should be responsible in part as our perceived No 1 striker scored no goals. I hope i'm wrong but i can see our generations John Barnes appearing before my eyes, awesome for his club (i'm sure he'll lead us to another title next year) but doesn't quite cut it for his country. Prove me wrong Wayne please!

Posted 09:03 3rd July 2010

Ronnie Runabout (Accrington Stanley fan) says...

Another failed exit from another World Cup - the dejection of millions, the out of pocket expenses whilst the players, their wifes and the other baggage of coaches, therapists are more likely to be sitting on a beach dreaming of their next lucrative club contracts. The same old story - well I feel it is time for the fans to make a protest to the players but more importantly to the FA - boycott england internationals - if the fans don't attend the games then surely the FA have to take notice - the national team development has to be fundamentally revamped from the bottom right through to the top, including the FA itself - it must be right that the national team takes precedence over all other levels of football and that the league clubs are dragged screaming and kicking to that development - the fans need to start a revolution - the FA will be the target - let the england internationals take place - but let the fans (both stadium and TV) send a shockwave through the establishment by boycotting the games - maybe the pulling power of failed receipts will make the change - but also the boycott display by the fans, I hope this short message may find its way to the millions of so many disappointed fans (young or old) - let the internet send the message clear and loud to the FA - the rest is up to fans.

Posted 08:18 3rd July 2010

Eric Ng (Liverpool fan) says...

Why Rooney did not perform well in the World Cup is because he is not world class, simple as that. He may have scored many goals in the EPL because MU is a top side in it. The build up to the attacks are already done by the team and he only need to be in position to place the ball at the back of the net. MU play teams like Portsmouth, Burnley, Hull, West Ham, etc, in the EPL, compare to teams like Germany, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Holland or Spain in the World Cup. Unless you are really of world class, like Maradona in 1986 where he single handedly won the Cup for Argentina, you can never really do well in this kind of tournament. The same apply to Ronaldo,Torres and Messi, how many goals did they score, they were all marked out of their games by their opposing teams. So all those people out there I hope you really know the meaning of "World Class" before you labelled it on any player.

Posted 23:47 2nd July 2010

Sparky Shero (Manchester United fan) says...

As per usual the english look for a scape goat! it couldnt be the fact that for the past 4 world cups the media have completely over hyped englands chances and in some cases players.rooney is undoutedly world class and anyone who cant see that does not know football.Compared to spain,brazil,holland,argentina england are average.this golden generation are not as golden as you keep making out and putting unfair pressure on your best players is never going to make them preform better.MERSE: your comments finally prove you haven't got a clue or that your just saying things to shock people into responding to you so you can keep your job at sky!joker.

Posted 17:38 2nd July 2010

Jamie Ross (Fulham fan) says...

Can we please stop the pseudo analysis of England's failure in the World Cup. Yes we have the players who should have been able to challenge far better than they did. Although we only have three world class players Ashley Cole, Gerrard and Rooney but there are others in the squad who are more than capable of playing on a world stage. There was a major problem with the atmosphere around the team rather than the quality of individuals play. This is not down to Capello. The obvious reason is the hold the cronies in the FA have on the England team. Why the hell was David Beckham hanging about the place? Oh I forgot he's worth a lot in endorsements, nothing to do with his capabilities as a footballer or leader of men. Same reason he was England captain, I thought we¿d got rid of him. ALSO a major problem with attitude is the power John Terry thinks he has. It was unfortunate that Rio got injured but Terry was going to be a negative influence whoever was captain in South Africa. He should never have been taken. We would have had a much better chance with a combination of Dawson, Carragher or Upson in central defence. Terry is an arrogant, ignorant moron, but then so are a lot of the hangers on at the FA. We will never move forward until all of them are removed from the vicinity of our national team. Wayne Rooney (along with others) will play well when football becomes the main aim again. And finally, Joe Cole I'm surprised at you I didn't think you were so shallow or stupid to be manipulated by a brainless wimp like Terry so easily.

Posted 15:35 2nd July 2010

Andy Manning (Southampton fan) says...

A soldier gets on average £10,000 for a 6 month tour in hell!! Yet he remains professional 24 hrs a day in fear for his life and friends !!! A footballer gets on average £100,000 a WEEK yet fails to be professional for 90 minutes!! And couldn't defend his country, fans or friends!!!!!! ..

Posted 13:44 2nd July 2010

Kevin Rommel (Chelsea fan) says...

1) TACTICS - First of all the England team is not without its flaws. As talented as the likes of Rooney, Lampard, Gerrard, Terry and A.Cole are, you need to have a balance in the team. Pushing Gerrard out wide to the left was a waste of talent. Pushing the defence up so high against a young and quick German team was a no-no. 2) PLAYERS - Knowing the fact that they will always be in the limelight and targets for the paparazzi, they should have conducted themselves off the field much better. I for one do not believe that they lacked the motivation to succeed in the World Cup, but their off field matters became a huge distraction to their preparation. 3) MEDIA - The English media is probably one of the biggest culprit in the failure of the team. First they publish all kinds of positive news to put these players up on the pedestal. But at the same time, they would be trying to dig out all sorts of dirt, or create a negative storm about the same players by means, we could say are less than ethical. And then they exaggerate the negativity as though these players had just started world war 3 until the players are overwhelmed and are unable to concentrate on the field. The pressure they inflict on the players is just stupid. Always twisting the words of the players just to sell a few more copies. And after all the damage done, they dare to come out and say "Yes, we are behind the England team!"??? Yeah, just like you are behind England's bid to host the World Cup as well. 4) FANS - Cheers the team when they are winning. Encourages the team when they are losing. Most England fans managed to do the first part, but many fail at the latter. Again increasing the negative atmosphere.

Posted 13:29 2nd July 2010

Bruce Antell (Juventus fan) says...

Never thought I'd agree with a Man Utd fan, but Barry Roach has exactly nailed EVERYTHING that is wrong with the English Football mentality. Every scribe in Fleet Street should be embarassed that Barry has, in that short post given a better analysis of our failings, than our sports journos ever could. What was one of their reactions? Make David Beckham manager. FFS

Posted 10:38 2nd July 2010

Matt Cooper (Manchester United fan) says...

In response to Mr Champstix, the idea that Rooney choked is total and utter nonsense! This is a player who has shouldered an unfair and massive burden at Manchester United all season in some of the biggest games that any player could play in. Milan in the San Siro and against yourselves at the Emirates are two quick examples. The formation that Capello decided to go with was at the heart of many of England's problems. Gerrard - ineffective to a large degree due to his position on the left. Lampard - troubled by the requirement for him to put in a defensive shift more often than he does for chelsea. Barry - over reliance on him led to him becoming stifled as well. Rooney - too easily marked and forced to stifle his creativity for the discipline of the shape the team were playing. These are all faults with the system and not the players, unless you really believe they all choked when the occasion came? I am not suggesting for one moment that the players should be absolved of criticism but lets be honest, they have not become bad players overnight so something in that set up at the WC did not suit them and I personally believe that the formation and perhaps Capello's rather archaic style of management were to blame. If Mr Capello can learn from his mistakes then he should be kept on, but if he intends to continue in the manner he has at this WC then maybe his time has come to an end. Btw Mr Champstix your comment about Blackburn and Bolton being too physical is also total rubbish but as an Arsenal fan who has been hearing that propaganda from Mr Wenger for quite some time now I expected nothing less.

Posted 09:42 2nd July 2010

Tom Worgan (Bristol City fan) says...

Rooney "over rated" i think not. Us English spend 4 years slaging off the England team on and off the pitch, then when we finally quilify for a world cup we all act as if we are going to win it. In the last 5 world cups we have hilighted a player to take us to the final we build them up only to knock them down when they dont perform or get sent off. The simple fact is there are 23 players and we need the team to perform not one player. Rooney feeds on good service, Basic football= team create a chance and striker finishes the chance, (well not in Heskeys case) if the team cant even create a chace for its strikers then how are they going to win. We love to blame something in this country and i was as upset as any Englishmen when the goal was not given, not because it would have made a difference but because it gave us something else to blame. we have got The Ball The formation and now the linesmen. None of these are to blame the fact is the 3 teams in our WC group would not have quillified out of our Europe quilifing group and yet we still could not beat them. It should not matter who you play or where they play against Algeria the team should create at least 1 chance but we didnt do enough. Rooneys Fault NO England not good enough, us fans blinded by 1966 and hype YES

Posted 09:31 2nd July 2010

Abdullahi Ali (Arsenal fan) says...

I think a lot of issues caused England team not to perform well.I have no doubt that many of you will agree with.look at these examples, a)The stripping of captaincy from John Terry.He didn't play to his best in order to revenge against Capello.I am sure England team didn't play as a team.we need players to come out and say what happened like the French team.b)capello short of communication with players due to his attitude not put effort to learn English language and lack to understand questions being asked by do you expect him to understand the players.c)capello selection was a joke for example he left walcott ,didn't play Peter Crouch when he is the leading scorer international matches for England d)why did he pick Heskey.why did FA suck Erickson when capello is playing same style.e)capello picked injured players when he said he will not f)why play Gareth Barry when Carrick is on the bench g)why play Upson instead of Caragher for Germany why because he didn't trust himself and fear of elimination if change the team from slovanian game......I had alot of respect for capello but not anymore.In a nutshell FA is to blame because they don't trust English managers.I 100% sure any English manager could do better than that.what we saw was humilation.....

Posted 09:25 2nd July 2010

Shahum Murad (Manchester United fan) says...

Answer for Mr. Arthur Brian As per Mr. Arthur, i feel all the fault is in Rooney's performance as he said whatever the manager do a technical giftted player makes something out of nothing. He is right, but today's football is not that football where one player can win you the world cup. Look how all the so-called stars Messi, Ronaldo, Dgorba, Torress have tasted failures. Today's football ins about formation, i believe if Gerrad has played behind Rooney as support striker then England had gone thru. Just to remind, Mr. Arthur - what happened to Mr. Solid of premmier league (John Terry) against Germany - he was caught sleeping on every time the Germans got the ball in English half. Can i ask where did his technical ability went???

Posted 08:14 2nd July 2010

Neville Gounder (Manchester United fan) says...

I think Capello got it wrong with his team selection .1) He is the only who cant see that Lamps and Gerrard cant play together.2) there was no creative player in the middle i.e Carrick would have done a better job than barry.3) Crouch should have started against Germany . There was no width in all the games . As for Rooneys performance it was down to no supply , no creativity so dont point fingers at one person.

Posted 07:46 2nd July 2010

Sam George (Aston Villa fan) says...

To say that Rooney doesn't have international calibre is disrespectful. He plays against some of the best players in the world in the premiership, and in the champions league, and has scored 34 goals this season. That is impressive. That is top quality. He wasn't just unfit or misused - he was miscontrolling the ball, failing to get fairly simple shots off. There was something wrong in his mindset, as there was for Lampard (although he was never going to play that well for England anyway) and most of the England team. Rooney has the potential to be among the best in world, it's that simple, and trying to deny that simply shows you've never seen him play. He normally plays with such passion and drive that defenders are scared to mark him, it's not about his rough play, but he wouldn't do it here. I'll admit, on his day, Steven Gerrard is better than Rooney (easily in the top 5 in the world), but Gerrard was being unselfish for a large part and using his ability to help create chances for Rooney (although Gerrard was about 8/10 for his normal ability, that's still world-class). The fact is, Rooney had a lot going for him, and the circumstances were enough for him to play at at least an 8/10 level as well, but he didn't. That means it's down to him, and the only thing people haven't suggested is his mindset.

Posted 07:30 2nd July 2010

Hyder Zaidi (Manchester United fan) says...

Charlie & Le Tiss both are right.....i also agree with Adrian Page (Charlton Athletic fan)!

Posted 06:49 2nd July 2010

Raden Ramdani (Manchester United fan) says...

Jason you're spot on. i have to entirely agree with you on that. I mean at the end of the day it is a team sport. It is true every team need a special player to lift them to a higher level but at the end of the day if the team is disjointed and without the ideal team formation, no way you can get the best out of your special players. Personally, i just feel other good english players esp gerrard and terry should have contributed more to share the load from rooney. They simply shipped in 4 goals not because of Rooney but the defence. so i don't think Rooney should be crucified by english fans though he did underperformed. At the end of the day the team and esp the manager, being the chief of the lot should shoulder the blame. Pele, Maradona, Messi performed brilliantly because they had the support from the team but rooney was void from that. So spare Rooney the rod guys

Posted 04:47 2nd July 2010

Lee Champstix (Arsenal fan) says...

Rooney Choked, he couldn't handle the pressure, that's it. Injury is not a question, he performed with Man Utd, with injuries towards the end of the season, and he always performed out left for United - so position is not an excuse. The Premiership is officiated differently from the rest of Europe, and World football, and Rooney's & Englands game suffered. You can't just bully people off the ball in World football, the likes of Bolton & Blackburn would finish with 7 or 8 men. The team as a whole didn't click, and there was definately some personality clashes. I believe John Terry shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the squad. For all his qualities the negativity he brings is far to damaging.

Posted 04:19 2nd July 2010

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Latest News RSS feeds

Chelsea in good shape for PSG

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is likely to have a strong squad to select from for their Champions League game with Paris Saint-Germain.

'Let's throw some punches'

New Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood says he is planning to install a more attacking approach at the club.

LVG: We must sign a midfielder

Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Manchester United will attempt to sign a creative midfield player this summer.

Live transfer updates

Live transfer news as Louis van Gaal makes the signing a creative midfielder his top priority this summer.

Bony trains with new team-mates

Wilfried Bony has trained with Man City for the first time after winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.


Tim Sherwood's to-do list: Five things the new Aston Villa manager must make a priority if he is to succeed

Tim Sherwood's to-do list: Five things the new Aston Villa manager must make a priority if he is to succeed

As Tim Sherwood settles into his first day at work as Aston Villa manager, the challenge of keeping the Premier League perennials in the top flight begins.

Pogba? Verratti? Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants a creative midfielder but who should he sign?

Pogba? Verratti? Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants a creative midfielder but who should he sign?

Only a fortnight after the transfer window closed, Louis van Gaal has set tongues wagging again by admitting that Manchester United need to sign a creative midfielder.

Xabi Alonso impressing at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola and eyeing a third Champions League medal

Xabi Alonso impressing at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola and eyeing a third Champions League medal

Adam Bate looks at Xabi Alonso's fine form with Bayern Munich and why he can make history this season.