June 16, 2006


If you're totally uninterested in football, you would be forgiven for wondering if Rooney is a word that was coined just a few years ago.

I'm totally surprised it isn't even in the dictionary. It should be.

Because it is one of the most uttered words in the world.

Will he play? Won't he?

Will England win the World Cup without Rooney? Can England even WIN a game without Rooney? Wait, can they even win a corner without him??? You know, I don't know why we're asking all these questions. I bet they can't even KICK the ball without him.

And oh, look who's at the end of the ball...ROONEY!

What? What do you mean he was not on the pitch yet? NO ONE ELSE DESERVES TO GET ON THE END OF THE BALL! How dare whoever-that-midget-is-I-forgot-his-name-because-my-brain-can-only- remember-one-player's name?? Sorry, I didn't know other players existed.

Funny that EVERYTHING Rooney does has this impressive adjective attached to it that magnifies an ordinary effort ten-zillion-fold that if I were blind I would've thought he invented the game of football, along with all the other tricks as the rest of the world MUST be ten million years behind Rooney, the inventor of the beautiful game.

In fact, they should just build a shrine dedicated to him, you know, and make it some kind of cultural attraction to get more tourists to visit the great England. And I won't be surprised if Rooney alone gets knighted if England reach the finals and still lose [well, what to do? Rooney's GREATNESS was negated by the presence of other terribly ordinary footballers, especially Michael Owen - the worst player in the England SQUAD!]

I am not blind.

I know Rooney is a great player.

But with the way they go on and on about him, you would think that he is like Shevchenko for Ukraine. And even then, I don't hear people going over the top when it comes to him.

When he's on the bench, they talk about him; while he's injured, they keep panicking and going on about how the whole world will die of a famine if Rooney doesn't play [they'll be holding their breath waiting for him to be fit, and in the process, forget to eat, or something stupid like that]; when he plays he gets exalted to ridiculous levels; when he isn't running around with the ball, they talk about the imminent greatness he is bound to produce, he is THE greatest player in the world and the only player capable of altering match results; when they're not talking about him and whether or not Wayne Rooney will play, they're talking about his girlfriend, who makes sure they never stop talking about him - or her.

Its a wonder why Manchester United don't win every single game they play.

Funny also how England only really start attacking and playing with a sense of urgency when Rooney is on the pitch. So its wrong to play to the strengths of Owen but totally right to play to the strengths of Rooney.

Anyway, Rooney aside, want to know what I think the problem with England is and why I think they will not win the World Cup?

They keep claiming they have the best team in years - yes, the best collection of players, maybe - no doubt due to the fact that one Rooney is equivalent to 11 other players, so there is absolutely no way other previous England teams will ever surpass this one. So on paper, I suppose they are pretty good - after all they've got people like Lampard and Terry [who I think has been one of the best England performers - and that isn't saying much, is it?] who supposedly do such amazing things for Chelsea every week ... anyway, on paper, they've got some pretty good players. There is also no depth, no width and too many exhibitionist-style players.

But I think it's a bit like Real Madrid - just dumping a bunch of great players together without a conscious effort of finding a way to make them meld together, they can't seem to play well together as a team, and more often than not, end up neutralising the abilities of each other. Maybe that's why they are about as exciting as the Da Vinci Code - also similarly overhyped and all talk but lacking in substance. Or maybe it's a case of having too many overpaid superstars in a team without any real balance - but that's another debate for another post.

And well, let's just say I find Sven's substitutions a little more than mind-boggling. Why does he persist in taking Cole off when Cole seems to be almost the ONLY link from midfield to the forwards? Don't get me wrong. Lampard and Gerrard are fantastic players, but all they ever seem to do is to shoot randomly OVER the crossbar and off to ... China or India or somewhere else. Well, basically the rest just do a lot of meaningless passing and by the way, if only they didn't win, I would've loved hearing Beckham say that the wind was too strong [since they can't blame the temperature] or something as all his shots kept straying.

Cole seems to constantly be inviting the defenders in - which was SUPPOSED to allow the strikers to get more free space, and has been, I think, probably the liveliest England player in the last 2 games [again, not saying much, but I might have nodded off a bit during the last 2 games as well, so excuse me if he wasn't]. Why does Sven keep taking him off? [Let us not start with Owen, because I will never stop. What a great way he has in dealing with less-than-fit players, let them rust even more on the bench or in the dressing room!]

One reason why I think the world seems to be fixated on Rooney is probably because he gives them a glimmer of hope, and you can't really blame them I suppose. With the kind of dire displays England come up with, we'd all be better off watching Barney.

They think that with Rooney, MAYBE we'll see better football. Maybe we'll get some goals.

It's just like how a lot of fans always go, "IF ONLY so-and-so played instead of him, we would've won 4-0" when their team loses 4-0, or something.

But the point is - and I am not denying that Rooney is a player who is capable of creating great moments in a game - that all of these are only redundantly optimistic speculations. It's like saying, "If only I had done this, I would've done that."

It is ALL too easy to get carried away with all these "what might have beens", because you imagine things to be so - and nobody can say you are right or wrong because it is just part of your imagination. And that conjured belief in one's imagination actually gives an idea weight and leads one to seriously consider such a possibility tangible. But who knows, if they had played Rooney, maybe they wouldn't have gotten that own goal in the first match?

And by the way, Rooney has actually only scored twice in his last 13 England matches and has not scored in a competitive match for over 2 years and it really makes you wonder why people are going on about Owen not scoring in a competitive match since October and England have only played a grand total of ONE competitive match since October - barring the recent two games. The commentator in the game even called him [Rooney, not Owen!] England's most prolific scorer.

IF we were to look at statistics - and statistics disguise facts - then maybe Crouchy is the most prolific England scorer in terms of his goals-to-games ratio, which isn't fair either because he has only played about 9 matches for England.

Oh well, at least we won't have to listen to how they didn't win the World Cup because Rooney didn't play.

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