Why Rooney will be a bigger miss than Ronaldo

Wayne Rooney, August 2010

When Cristiano Ronaldo had left the club in 2009, many had been quick to dismiss Manchester United’s bid for the elusive 19th league trophy even before the new season had started. While, admittedly, I thought United were going to win that year, and still very much hold the hope with burning optimism that they could do so this year, others did not agree – stating that the Red Devils will badly miss the services of their legendary Portuguese no.7. For, Ronaldo is part of a special minority of players that are able to work wonders on a football pitch. Wayne Rooney is part of that collective. And, as I explore in more detail below, cumulatively, Rooney will be a bigger void to fill if he were to leave.

While on talent, Ronaldo is obviously the bigger miss, a Rooney departure, in addition, will mean an increased difficulty in filling that void. Not to say the club haven’t got the talent nor the money to replace Rooney, but Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo are on completely different levels to the majority in world football. When Ronaldo left, United had Rooney to fall back on. Speaking after the departures of Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, Rooney promised:

“Between them Cristiano and Carlos scored a lot of goals for us last season and the season before, but I would like to think I’m capable of filling that gap. I’ve said before that, if I can play in my right position, I’m capable of doing that.” Indeed, he was ‘capable’ of doing so. While United fell desperately short of a fourth successive championship, Rooney had experienced his best season yet in United colours – with Ronaldo gone, he was given more freedom and a license; he scored a total of 34 goals in that campaign, eight less than Ronaldo had managed two years previous, but it did give an indication that Rooney had helped fill the non-refillable void. Potentially, that is the key word here, his would be a bigger void to fill because they have no ‘obvious’ individual to fall back on this time or to rely on.

The Red Devils, however, do have plenty of strength in depth to argue against this. It’s important to look at another perspective, that United have plenty in their armoury. People will argue the need for a fresh new face, but if not, they boasts the talents of Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez, Federico Macheda and three or four others who could, and probably would, score as many as Rooney combined – but the point is that it’s difficult to see an individual apart from Rooney score 25+ himself. Of course, United are also in a decent position youth-wise and have an excellent system in which they develop players so the situation wouldn’t be disastrous as the red tops and, in some cases, some of the broadsheets have made out to be. But, in a way, it is quite disastrous. Potentially. Whether I’m a pessimistic optimist or just a deluded old man, you decide and make yourself heard by leaving a comment.

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One response to “Why Rooney will be a bigger miss than Ronaldo”

  1. DKNY says :

    Man Utd is bigger than any one player, even Wayne Rooney. More than any other club, the Red Devils have the ability to create the next international phenom in Rooney’s wake. The more worrisome thing to me was that Sir Alex looked so distraught, betrayed even. I hope this doesn’t hasten his retirement — because that will create a void that’s much, much harder to fill.

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