Sunday, July 4, 2010

Was Wayne Rooney Full Fit in South Africa?

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has recently said that his key striker Wayne Rooney was 100 percent fit physically and mentally while on international duty with England in the World Cup 2010 in South Africa. However, the reality is that Rooney looked out of shape in all 4 matches as England was eliminated from the round of 16.

Ferguson’s claim that Rooney was full fit in South Africa is totally self-contradictory. Just prior to the world cup, he said that England would suffer from players’ exhaustion during the tournament, citing that the intensity of English Premier League is higher than any other European leagues. The fact that all the players were from EPL did not help England either.

Another important thing is that most of the members of England squad were key players for their EPL clubs. As a result, their clubs used them in most of the matches in all competitions including Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Europa League and Champions League.

Moreover, the players were also under pressure because of huge expectation from them. So, these tournaments took heavy toll on the players both physically and mentally.

Wayne Rooney is perhaps the biggest example. After the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo last summer, cash-trapped Manchester United could not bring in a quality replacement and became heavily depended on Rooney. The striker, however, dealt with pressure very well and had perhaps his best season with United becoming the highest scorer among the English players in EPL last season.

What was more surprising is that Ferguson hastily brought Rooney in action for the return leg quarter final match against Bayern Munich in Champions League, just a week after Rooney had suffered an ankle injury during the first leg.

Overall, Rooney was not 100 percent fit mentally and physically during the World Cup, and extra pressure installed on him by Manchester United was one of the major reasons for his poor show in South Africa.

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