Date: 28th June 2010 at 4:35pm
Written by:

Unless something comes to light very soon, it`s going to remain one of those great mysteries we can only speculate upon.

To put it bluntly, Wayne Rooney didn`t have a great World Cup, he didn`t have a good World Cup or even a remotely decent one, in fact he had a downright poor one.

South Africa 2010 was supposed to be the tournament at which the leading exponent of the English game and a player who received so much adulation in the domestic game last season was going to shine.

So why was the light extinguished?

Why was that not the same Wayne Rooney we`ve become accustomed to all season?

Why was it not the same Wayne Rooney who pushed Didier Drogba all the way in the chase for the Golden Boot?

It`s well documented that Wayne didn`t have a good finish to the season. A niggling injury interrupted his rhythm and led to niggling injury after niggling injury affecting his game.

Was this to play a part in his 2010 World Cup?

Apparently not, the mantra coming from the England camp implied that Wayne was buzzing in training and that he had to be held back, he was implemented as being the life and soul of the party, the practical joker in the pack and the one person not fazed by the weight of a nation`s expectations on the team.

So what happened when he crossed that line that separates the training pitch from the match pitch?

It`s hardly likely that Rooney would have been affected by the atmosphere, it`d be something he`d thrive on, so perhaps we should look elsewhere and perhaps Wayne might have been a victim of his own success.

International football is slower than the domestic game, patience is a virtue, defences are tighter and the midfields` are denser. Space, the one thing Rooney thrives on, was at a premium. Deny the man the space and nullify his game!

Then we have the fact that Capello chose to play Heskey as the target man, expecting Wayne to pick up any knockdown scraps, not a role he performs at club level. Rooney is something of a free spirit, someone who chooses to drop deep to collect the ball, drop deep foraging, drop deep before bursting forward, only dropping deep in this tournament meant dropping into the very area that was so congested, especially in the formation England were playing whereby every thing was condensed in the middle due to a lack of wide-men.

Frustration and inner anger, an anger kept hidden externally, eat away at energy levels, energy levels that after an interrupted end to a season, might not have been at the level they should be, was Wayne paying the price of a hectic season, a season where Sir Alex might have, ideally, chosen to use him less but with limited back up couldn`t afraid not to use him?

At the moment I feel a little bit like England, struggling to string two passes together, struggling to construct something meaningful, such is the disbelief that Rooney had such a poor tournament. But what eats away the most is that once he pulls on that red United shirt, as opposed to the red shirt of England in 2010, Sir Alex Ferguson knows that Wayne Rooney will unquestionably, once again, deliver the goods.

But why is it so much easier at domestic level than international when the lad is blessed with so much natural talent. Perhaps you can tell me!

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