When Wayne Rooney ended his 13 year stay at Man United ti return to his boyhood club Everton earlier this summer, many speculated that it was a risky investment on the Toffee’s behalf. That speculation did seem to hold a fair amount of water, but Rooney has appeared rejuvenated since he pulled his blue shirt of choice back on.
Rooney’s arrival coincided with the summer acquisitions of the likes of Jordan Pickford and Gylfi Sigurdsson, and the smile on his face shows that it was a decision he was keen to make as soon as he was able.
His play harkens back to the youngster who burst onto the scenes fifteen years ago. It hadn’t taken him too long to break through into the England scene, and he made his full debut just over a year later. Rooney’s fine pre-season (and early season) form paved the way for him to announce his retirement from international football earlier this month, after failing to make the last couple of Three Lions squads.
However, it should maybe be said – this could be Rooney’s finest time to pull on the famous white shirt and represent the nation once again. He has visibly rediscovered his passion and enjoyment of the game, and it could be argued that his presence in Gareth Southgate’s squad nowadays could, ironically, bring a fresh new approach to the England attacking line.
Yes, he spent fourteen years playing for England of which the vast majority saw him struggle to really exert his influence and offer any massively positive impact. That’s not to say that he was ever bad playing for England – he is the nation’s record goalscorer after all – but there was always a sense that he could change the game in his younger days. That feeling subsided gradually over the coming years, to the point where many fans were calling for his exclusion for some time.
Once again, however, he seems happy and confident enough to change the game in his side’s favour. He is scoring belters again, and the football brain he has developed in recent years acts only to complement his improved physical control on the ball.
His presence could also help some of the younger generation who are inevitably knocking at the door of international regularity. The likes of Marcus Rashford – despite being a club team-mate of his until recently – could benefit hugely from having a character like Rooney around the England camp. Who better to learn from than the man who finally broke Bobby Charlton’s international scoring record?
Ultimately, now may be the time to try and tempt Rooney back into the fold while he has time to continue his legacy and add another dimension to England’s play. It may help England now, but the ongoing benefits could be far too good to ignore.
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