Marmite: you either think it’ll sell shirts, be a good squad condiment in a year of Europa League togger and bring a winning mentality… Or you hate it. How often have you heard people talking about Rooney’s play taking us into the Champions League places we covet? You probably haven’t. Because it won’t. United didn’t think his play would over the course of their league campaign. And they finished one place above us in the league.
Phil Neville was supposed to bring a winning mentality, but all turbo-grass brought was pointing and hair of a man 25 years his junior. Thrice bald ™ can’t even offer us the latter, and the fire and brimstone that was such a massive part of his game hasn’t been there since he was just OG balding. Which is apt, because it makes him sound American. America is where he should go next, not China. Yer weird closet-racist workmate moans about how foreigners won’t integrate here, but can you imagine 15 stone of Crockey’s finest integrating in Tianjin? Smoking would be about it. But time and time again he’s proven how much he loves money, so don’t discount it. I look forward to reading about it in his fourth of five (?!) autobiographies that he signed up to. Was it the third that had to be pulped because he’d provably lied in, in order to sex it up to sell more? He was twenty when the first came out. An autobiography at twenty. Oh and shout out for a Scouser having his book serialised in The News of The World, the now defunct sister paper of The Sun. Money, money, money. Yummy.
Rooney was a top player. He isn’t now. When he left Everton for Man United, he played alongside another prodigiously talented young player. I think most people would say he was the more talented of the two at the time, but one worked relentlessly at their craft, their body, and if the results aren’t already obvious enough now, let’s revisit this in three years. There’s only one of the two I’d take at Everton now. And he’s older than him.
To me, Rooney would be like bumping into a girl you used to like at school that you haven’t seen for years, while you’re out picking up a few bits at Speke Retail. She’s still got a twinkle in her eye, and you can’t help but remember all those feelings you once had, but the unavoidable truth is her three kids are out of control running in and out between the cars, and she’s got the flaky remnants of a Greggs sausage roll adorning the Ellesse t-shirt she got free with the kids trainees in JD. Things have changed for both of you.
Sentimentality has, to a certain extent, held this club back. Players underserving of new deals rewarded for being ‘good lads’. Sure they were, but were they good enough? Or were we settling? Rooney’s single-minded determination to leave Everton when he did is a characteristic of a trait that separates people like me from people like him. One of many, in fact. He was a top player, and an Evertonian like you or I. That didn’t stop him going as soon as it suited him. Well, the salt and pepper is on our side of the table, now. The clinical, honest truth that he used to decide his time was best served elsewhere? He isn’t good enough anymore. He’ll have his days for someone- maybe even us. He’ll still do the occasional great thing, maybe even take the odd game by the scruff of the neck. That’s the romantic in us pining for the potential of performances like that again, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Save, potential isn’t really applicable for a man turning 32 this year. Patterns of performance are.
Rooney has scored over 12 league goals once since 2012. He’s bagged 11 in his last 60 for club & country. In 2016/17, his league goals per minutes played ratio was 0.29 goals per 90 minutes. In other words, he’d have to play over 3 full games worth to get one goal. That’s less goals per minutes on the pitch than Nathan Aké, Vincent Kompany, Hal Robson-Kanu, Stefano Okaka, and Oumar Niasse. Yes, Oumar Niasse. A one off? In 2015/16, he scored at a rate of 0.30 per 90 minutes played. Some of the players who scored more goals with their minutes on the pitch than him that year? Salomón Rondón, Bafétimbi Gomis, Connor Wickham, Andros Townsend, Enner Valencia, Steven Fletcher, and Arouna Koné. Yes, Arouna Koné.
Rooney’s play won’t justify the money he’ll inevitably want. The shirts won’t pay for him, because we only get ‘royalties’ on sales, on top of a guaranteed 3 million per year from the Kit Bag deal. Nobody wins trophies ‘selling shirts’ or ‘making statements’ anyway. Just sign better players. Will Rooney improve us enough to justify the cost? Or are you just desperate for him to?
As always, you can find me here for more nonsense: https://twitter.com/EvertonMusings