So yesterday we discovered that Wayne Rooney will be banned for the first three games of Euro 2012. I was listening to Andy Durham and Darren Gough on Talksport when the news broke. Within minutes Durham had said that the ban was a joke, FIFA/UEFA were against England and both agreed that the ban should be shortened because of the way that Rooney left the pitch – so if I head butted a policeman and then picked him up, should my criminal sentence be reduced? Let’s put things into perspective here:
When England were 2-1 up and comfortably heading to Euro 2012, Wayne Rooney put this favourable position in jeopardy and let his country down, again, by deciding to turn to an opposition player and assault him without any major incitement.
In my opinion, the governing bodies are well within their rights to hand Rooney a three game ban. I would love to see the FA accept the charge and Rooney left back in England to finally learn that there are consequences to his actions.
What are the chances of this happening?
Well, Rooney is widely regarded as England’s best forward, potentially best player in general. Because of this it could be argued that Capello would be foolish not to take him; as he needs the best players available to him if the side are to stand a chance against the likes of Germany, Portugal or Spain. Rooney’s talent alone could justify a risky inclusion in the 23 man squad.
The fact that he’d be in the training camp without playing 90 minutes every few days may mean that, come the second stage of the tournament, Rooney will be fresher than team mates and opponents. Fitness always seems to be a big factor around England at major tournaments; including a speciality ‘second phase player’ could be a shrewd tactic.
In addition to his freshness, there is no doubt that Rooney would start his first game hungry and raring to go. He plays with his heart on his sleeve and, as a result of this; it is blatantly obvious that Rooney is at his best when he feels he has a point to prove. Maybe this added desire could act as a second wave for England, breathing life into a team which may be battle worn after three games.
However, if in the squad, Rooney would be included as a fourth striker. Regardless to formation, England would have to take three strikers minimum – four if one of them was Rooney. Capello seems to be settling on a 433 formation which means that taking three forwards and overloading the midfield is a genuine option. The inclusion of Rooney would be to the detriment of a midfielder and could enforce a system which England mightn’t want to play. Is it worth upsetting the balance to shoehorn in a player who mightn’t get a minute of football?
You then have to think about the striker(s) who will play the group games at the tournament. No matter how well they play, Wayne Rooney’s name will be on everybody’s lips. Similar to Torres having Drogba on the bench behind him, the poor striker will know that they’re on a hiding to nothing. Their performances in the group stages will be totally irrelevant if, after 60 minutes in the second stage, England aren’t playing too well – Rooney will be on like a shot (probably booked within five minutes). Why upset the possibility of good team performances to, once again, put this continual let-down on his pedestal?
This leads us on to the relentless need to have a national figurehead, as recently suggested by Gary Neville. Players such as Robson, Gascoigne, Beckham and Rooney have all been elevated to unhealthy levels of importance in comparison to the rest of their respective squads. For what reason? Does Wayne Rooney really need another reason to think that he is the born again Messiah? He was meant to walk on water at World Cup 2012, and didn’t perform. Is there an argument for doing everyone a favour and putting the emphasis on the team, rather than an apparent ‘Roy of the Rovers’ who never seems to turn up?
Personally, I would like to see a moral victory for every Englishman who has dreamt of representing their country. This is to set a precedent and show that no player is bigger than the team. I have no problem in our children admiring footballers – certain players, such as Scott Parker, make great role models. However, it sickens me that England will spend the next eight months promoting Wayne Rooney as a martyr. UEFA didn’t assault a Montenegro player in an England shirt, it was Rooney himself.
HE LET HIS COUNTRY DOWN – AGAIN!
For me, Rooney has given the FA the perfect opportunity to bring him down to earth. For once, let’s ignore his talent and humbly accept the punishment where it’s due. Maybe certain players need to learn the responsibility that accompanies pulling on the Three Lions. Whether it be ranting at the camera, urinating in the street, acting violently or generally assuming that he is above the law – Wayne Rooney should be ashamed of himself, yet again.