(Don’t shoot me! I admit it, I am the weakest link! I promise to try and improve, just don’t drop me!)

At thirty years of age, Wayne Rooney’s best days are a considerable way behind him.

At present he keeps being selected by Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal because he, rather foolishly, made him captain. Not only is Rooney a long way off being captain material, he is currently a long way off even being first team material.

Almost as soon as van Gaal decided Rooney was his captain at United, Mr Roy followed suit with England.

Now I don’t know what these two see in him on the training ground, but I do know what I see on the pitch.

Over the years Manchester United have had some great captains. The ones that stand out are the likes of Roy Keane and Bryan Robson, both of whom also captained their countries. Neither of them were shrinking violets and could be very vocal both on and off the field.

Captaincy of a team has an element of leading by example but, on it’s own, it is not enough. This is why I cringe when people say that Beckham “wouldn’t shout but he led by example”. What does this even mean? The fact that he was very energetic and could run around a lot does not make him a great captain. In fact, other players would just give him the ball and let him get on with it while they took a breather.

Rooney is similar in this respect. Very rarely vocal, although I have seen him shout once this season, he used to get around the pitch quite a lot. He still does but with less effort. Now he saunters around not leading at all, doing very little if the truth be known.

Good captains HAVE to be vocal. They have to hand out rollickings to players who are not performing, inside and outside of the dressing room. This is why Rooney and Beckham will never be considered great captains.

Louis van Gaal, of course, has dug himself a hole. He said that his captain has special privileges and that he always plays. He either wishes he had never said those words now, or he doesn’t watch games when Rooney gets the ball.

The natural captain at United now is Bastian Schweinsteiger, who unfortunately was not there when van Gaal was making ludicrous decisions. He shouts, he cajoles, he leads by example and, when the team is losing, he is the one fighting for every ball, sometimes literally.

Obviously, van Gaal is not going to strip Rooney of the captaincy and give it to Schweinsteiger, even though he should. We’ll just have to put up with things as they are until the end of the season.

If Rooney had any pride he would be asking the manager to relieve him of the captaincy to see if his game would improve without the extra burden. He hasn’t done that. If Rooney had any pride, he would ask to be left out of the team for a couple of games, to try and recover some form. That kind of thing used to happen a lot. A player would think of the team before himself and, if his form was not good he would ask to be dropped. Rooney won’t do that. He would rather be a liability on the pitch than a supporter off it. He will not willingly put the team first. Yes, he has done it by playing in different positions, but not by asking to be left out for the benefit of the team.

When all said and done, Rooney has been at United for twelve years now. There have been some great moments, the occasional flash of brilliance but, unfortunately, United have given Wayne Rooney a lot more than Wayne Rooney has given United.


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