World Cup profiles… Wayne Rooney: Can England’s talisman finally deliver on the world stage?

Tipped as the best English player since Paul Gascoigne, Wayne Rooney has so far failed to live up to expectations when it comes to the world stage.

The Manchester United striker featured in both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups but has failed to score a single goal in the tournament.

One thing which has hampered Rooney during the past two events has been the injuries he has sustained in the build up to the competition after a gruelling domestic season.

In 2006 it was the broken metatarsal he suffered against Chelsea which prevented Rooney from playing in the warm-up games.

So when Sven-Goran Eriksson rushed him back in England’s second group game against Trinidad and Tobago it was clear the striker wasn’t fit for purpose.

England record










This became even clearer by the time England reached the quarter-final stage when Rooney, who by now was one of only two fit strikers in the squad, was sent off midway through the second half after a stamp on Ricardo Carvalho.

In 2010 Rooney’s pre-World Cup injury curse struck again as the United man sustained an ankle injury during a Champions League quarter final against Bayern Munich.

Rooney was able to play in the warm up games this time around but yet again the lack of football towards the end of the season showed as he looked well off the pace.

Things came to a head after England’s woeful 0-0 draw against Algeria when Rooney, who had been particularly lacklustre, turned on the booing supporters, accusing them of disloyalty as he ranted at a TV camera.

World Cup record










Red Cards




This time around though Rooney has no injury excuses.

Although he missed United’s last three games of the season, it appeared interim manager Ryan Giggs was resting the star man for the football’s biggest event.

The Welshman is a believer in Rooney’s ability and thinks the time is right for Rooney to make a big impact in Brazil.

“Wayne is a top player. He is at a good age. He is probably at the peak of his powers and I know for a fact he can’t wait for it,” he said.

“Wayne has had a fantastic season. He is going away next week and working on his fitness so this little groin strain has probably helped him because he will be going into it relatively fresh.”

Rooney was also England’s leading scorer in qualification yet again, helping Roy Hodgson’s men top a tricky group.

2014 Qualifying record





This has happened on the other two occasions but unlike 2006 and 2010 Rooney will not be coming into the tournament on the back of a gruelling title charge.

United’s catastrophic season meant their Premier League title ambitions were over by Christmas and a chance of finishing in the top four were gone by February.

This has allowed Rooney to now focus on form ahead of the World Cup and on the back of a relatively impressive individual season he should be confident of finally delivering on the sport’s biggest stage.

This World Cup has to be a big one for Rooney as the emergence of Ross Barkley could spell the end of the United man’s reign as England’s leading figure.

The time has finally come for Rooney to justify the years of hype and justify being labelled as one of the England greats.

The stage couldn’t be more perfectly set.

Main image courtesy of England Football Official via YouTube, with thanks.

Related Articles