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Remarkable record-breaking Rooney to receive due respect once retired?

After having been demoted to the bench in recent months, it’s fair to say Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United career is in its final stages. The official United captain hasn’t been in a matchday squad since the League Cup final on 26th February. A game that he watched from the bench. The intense closing of the game possibly called for his leadership, spirit, and experience, but it wasn’t to be as Ibrahimović headed in the winning goal, leaving the all-time England top-scorer with a bitter-sweet feeling. The United skipper led the award ceremony, however, lifting the League Cup for the third time. Since then Rooney hasn’t featured for the Reds, with Mourinho labelling minor injuries and match-fitness as the reasons.

Wayne Rooney is now expected to leave in Summer, as reported by The Independent, marking the end of an almost 13-year legacy. The United skipper recently surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton’s record becoming Manchester United’s leading goal scorer, scoring his 250th goal for the reds with a thunderous equalizing free-kick in the 94th minute away to Stoke. The strike was a monumental one, suggesting his time at United could be coming to end considering the record-breaker has now achieved everything at club level. Despite all he has achieved, criticism has smothered him over recent years. Numerous pundits, a growing chunk of football fans, rival fans and even some United fans have continued to direct criticism at the English legend, belittling his achievements and defining him as something which is unfair and unjustifiable.

Rooney, 31, joined United almost 13 years ago, at only 18 years old. He first burst onto the scene at boyhood club Everton, scoring 17 goals in 48 appearances during his two seasons at the Toffees. After increased interest from Newcastle, Sir Alex Ferguson splashed £30 million securing the most sought-after talent in English football. Weeks later, the then 18-year-old wonder kid cemented himself as a fan favourite, scoring a remarkable hat-trick against Fenerbahce on his United debut. Since then, Rooney has gone on to win five Premier leagues, three League Cups, three Community Shields, one FA Cup, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World Cup; 14 major honors. He has won everything there is to win at club level, becoming the all-time leading goal scorer for Manchester United in the process.

Upon arrival at Old Trafford, Rooney was partnered by Louis Saha, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and Ruud Van Nistelrooy. Soon later, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Smith, Rossi and Henrik Larsson took turns to partner Wazza, followed by Carlos Tevez, Dimitar Berbatov, Federico Macheda, Danny Welbeck, Javier Hernandez, Robin Van Persie, Radamel Falcao, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Upon arrival at Old Trafford, Rooney has scored 180 premier league goals for the reds and assisted 93 times. Despite falling out with parts of the fan base regarding previous transfer requests, he was never a Man United fan, so staying at the club forever was never his dream as it was there’s. 12 years of world-class service deserves more appreciation from an abruptly changing football world.

Criticism has recurrently been focused on the Man United leading goal scorer regarding England’s misfortune and lack of progress on an International level. This is simply unfair and unwarrantable. England’s failure to perform on an International level is a debate which has been ongoing for years. Too many factors are the main subject surrounding England’s failure, such as the Premier League’s choice to host football during the popular winter break and the harsh intensity of the league itself. Regardless, Rooney is England’s all-time leading goal scorer and because of his name and club success, he’s been the nation’s scapegoat.

People are quick to forget just how long Rooney has been playing at the highest level. Making his Premier League debut aged just 16, the United and England top scorer has been playing at the highest level for 15 years. After he retires, critics will be able to analyze just what made him so idolized by United fans for much of his career. As Manchester United and England’s all-time leading goal scorer, upon retirement, Wayne Rooney will receive the respect from those who don’t already and will undoubtedly go down as one of England’s best ever footballers.

Written by Faaris Johal

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