Wayne Rooney Returns to Everton as a Champion but Not a Conqueror

Tuesday, 11 July, 2017 19comments  |  Jump to most recent
In this pertinent piece, Rory Smith of the London Times highlights how Wayne Rooney, Everton's returning Prodigal Son, has never received the unbridled acclaim his achievements deserve.

» Read the full article at New York Times

Reader Comments (19)

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Peter Warren
1 Posted 11/07/2017 at 08:21:11
Thoroughly enjoyed that, thanks, Lyndon.
David Ellis
2 Posted 11/07/2017 at 09:28:44
Yes thanks, Rasputin. And now we are getting coverage in the New York Times. Heady days indeed.
Dan Kemp
3 Posted 11/07/2017 at 10:32:50
Great article. We've been having the debate for years about whether he's lived up to his potential. This article sums it up nicely – he was billed too highly as a teenager to ever live up to it.

I wonder how Rooney himself feels about it all? Does he feel he reached his potential? Will two years spent at Everton make him regret not coming back sooner, I wonder?

Anto Byrne
4 Posted 11/07/2017 at 13:39:50
He had Ferguson who let him play. Moyes sucked the life out of him and then the dour Dutchman.

I can understand Rooney losing his mojo and he should have moved on 3 years ago. It looks like the last three seasons have been time treading water.

The Special One obviously sees things as they are at Utd. I really think the powers that be resent the scouser taking Charltons record just reading between the lines.

Coming to Everton is a reboot for Wayne he has got something to prove regardless of what he has won elsewhere. This lad will bleed blue he will bring back the fight to the club. For me he will become the player in the Zinedine mould. That's my hope.

The guy has shed 2 stone is off the piss – what more can you say? This is in my opinion a really great signing. I can't wait for the season to kick off.

Stan Schofield
5 Posted 11/07/2017 at 13:56:20
Thanks for that link Lyndon, great article.

The article seems to reflect what many of us feel, that Rooney is a genius, a rare talent, who has been unfairly criticised and irrationally despised by much of our media.

It's interesting that it's a US article that highlights something that I've always felt; that much of the negative criticism of him has some roots in our class system, with its mediocre people who despise the rewards of true and exceptional talent, people with middle-class pretentions who don't have the talent themselves to recognise genius, the 'green-eyed monster' people who resent someone with his background having material wealth greater than theirs.

The article rightly highlights Rooney as the best player of his generation. I didn't know that Man Utd supporters referred to him as the White Pele, the term we've used for Colin Harvey.

Although Rooney's powers are not what they were, talent is innate, and there's every reason to believe he'll have a major impact at Everton.

Steve Smith
6 Posted 11/07/2017 at 16:07:20
Great article, and this:

"But much of the scorn he has attracted — and that has, unfairly, slowly eroded his status — had its roots somewhere else: in his roots. England is a country hidebound by class, trapped in a web of nuance and presumption. Beckham, like Rooney, was born of working-class stock, but his was the right kind: aspirational, smiling, petit bourgeois, of the affluent South East."

Pretty much sums up the north-south divide.

Thomas Lennon
7 Posted 11/07/2017 at 16:33:40
I was struck on Sunday when we saw press conferences on TV by how much the boy had become the man, much less the scouse caricature that he was when he left – though to be honest I didn't take much notice of him in the last decade. My feeling is he will have a big impact on making Everton win again.

Much as the stereotypical scaaser is greeted with rolling eyes and more than a little need for a translator when outside of the 'L' postcode I think jealousy of the extravagant skills and talents of that man are more to do with the resentment of the Rooney brand than any lingering residue of class division. If anything in my experience that division comes more from within Liverpool rather than without – and a drive past the still derelict World War 2 bombsites (are they still there on London Road?) gives us a clue why.

Steve Ferns
8 Posted 11/07/2017 at 16:42:43
Wayne Rooney's Everton return could make for a fairy-tale ending, but there's genuine reason for the scepticism — Jonanthan Wilson

Very interesting Article from the football brain that is Jonathan Wilson (author of Inverting the Pyramid). He seems to be writing Rooney off, with some valid points. Maybe it is blue-tinted glasses, but I subscribe to the theory that Rooney has lost his fire / hunger / mojo and that perhaps it needs him to be back with us to rediscover it. I think he can rejuvenate himself and have an Indian summer.

We don't need Rooney to beat three or four men on a lung busting run, we need him to conduct the attack, like a maestro conductor, by giving short quick one touch passes, in tight congested areas, using speed of thought, quick feet, to wrong foot the defence, and create goal scoring opportunities for others or indeed himself.

Jay Wood
9 Posted 11/07/2017 at 17:13:47
That's a really nice piece, both on his prowess as a footballer and the lingering question 'did Rooney really fulfill his teenage potential?', and as social commentary: how players of similar backgrounds but different locations are perceived – the 'Brand' Beckham vs the Cocky Crocky Scally.

To deal with the latter first and how the city of Liverpool has long been perceived by outsiders.

Any one who lived through the Thatcher years in the city of Liverpool will know first hand how the city and its inhabitants suffered at the hands of a Tory government.

Any Tories taking umbrage at this should remember the Tory cabinet debated not investing in the city, to abandon it to 'managed decline' rather than spend public money on the 'stony ground' of Merseyside.

Here's a link to jog memories, info released 30 years after the event:


Even when he first caught the world's attention at the Euros 2004, there was a photo of Wayne doing a cartwheel in a goal celebration. A doctored photo quickly followed, showing stolen goods falling from Wayne's cartwheeling form with the caption:

"You can take the boy out of Liverpool, but you can't take Liverpool out of the boy."

I doubt there is a son or daughter of the city who, revealing their origins, has never heard stereotypical 'gags' about 'thieving scousers'. Such is the ingrained national perception many still hold about the city of Liverpool and its people. This is what Wayne and his humble origins has had to endure throughout his career, as the article mentions:

"He is bright and pleasant — and, increasingly, searingly frank — in person, but in his early interviews, he was crushingly shy. It created an unfair stereotype to fit an unspoken prejudice: the thick kid from Croxteth, brains in his feet and nowhere else."

As to his footballing ability, he has had an astonishing career. He has battered all manner of club and national records and certainly filled his trophy cabinet. He has produced incredible performances, done astonishing things at times on the pitch and scored truly memorable goals.

And yet, for me, I for one don't think he fully fulfilled the precocious talent he displayed in his teenage years. Don't get me wrong. He has been good. Really, really good. But, as good and with the same longevity as a former team mate and peer, Cristiano Ronaldo? I'd have to say 'No'.

Wayne is 31, 32 in October. Ronaldo is 32, 33 in February next year. Very similar career paths, CR7 more senior in years by 8 month; who would you say was more dedicated to his profession, who took greater care of his health and body, who continued to improve year on year to reach ever greater heights?

Manchester United have just allowed Wayne Rooney to return to Everton on a free transfer, even paying part of his salary, we are led to believe.

Could you see Real Madrid doing the same with the older CR7 at this time, releasing him back for free to Sporting of Lisbon?

Ever the optimist, I really hope we get an Indian Summer out of Wayne. All our summer dealings to date have been impressive, but Rooney is the great unknown to me. His return could go either way. He is the catalyst that orchestrates great things on the pitch, or he is a dud (or something in between the two extremes).

For sure, the name that he is and, as we have seen since the announcement of his return, not just devote Blues but the footballing world will be taking a very keen interest on how this pans out.

Shane Corcoran
10 Posted 11/07/2017 at 17:20:56
Is this really a good article?

The author seems to have a guess at why Rooney's career hasn't been celebrated. Is it true? I've no idea. I don't live in the UK. Some evidence to back it up would have been helpful.

John G Davies
11 Posted 11/07/2017 at 17:23:15

I agree with all of your brilliant post apart from the comparison with Ronaldo. One of them played the vast majority of his career for himself and not the team.

The other smashed himself into tackles, ran through brick walls and refused to accept defeat. All in the name of the team.

John G Davies
13 Posted 11/07/2017 at 17:34:03
Sir Geoffrey "Dead Sheep" Howe:

"I fear Liverpool will be the hardest nut to crack"

That's why they hate us. We won't have it and they know it.

Felt proud when I read that above statement.

Jay Wood
14 Posted 11/07/2017 at 17:40:23
John, I agree with your observation and that aspect of their perspective games you mention.

Wayne has engaged in far more direct physical contact than CR7 and uncomplainingly played in a wide range of positions and roles to the benefit of 'the team', rather than spit out the dummy looking out for himself.

That greater physical involvement in part must have an accumulative effect on Rooney's body. CR7, by contrast, also gets battered a lot, but doesn't do much battering himself.

He also remains passive for long stretches of the game in a role often removed from the 'muck and nettles' action of a game, making just 3-4 explosive plays over the course of 90 minutes.

Wayne Rooney and the role and position he mostly plays, by contrast, was more constantly on the go and at the sharp end of things.

And that's my concern for the lad. He has the football brain. I doubt he still has the power and resistance that was once a key component to his game. If both he and Koeman can recognize and manage that, he can still be a considerable asset to us.

John G Davies
15 Posted 11/07/2017 at 19:00:17
He won't have the brute strength he had as a young man Jay, nor the pace. He won't have list the ability to see a pass and hopefully putting the Blue shirt on will light the fire. We can only hope.

I don't think he was ever the same player after Alex Ferguson went public saying he had to draw back on the aggressive way he played.

Clive Mitchell
16 Posted 12/07/2017 at 01:11:06
Good article. There are definitely grains of truth in it. But while I recognise what's said about Beckham versus Rooney, I don't think the football-loving children in England who've grown up in Rooney's era feel anything but awed respect for him. He's not been Ronaldo, but who has?

Has he been the best English player of my (62-year) lifetime? I think so. Contenders anyone?

James Stewart
17 Posted 12/07/2017 at 01:32:07
Great article. I was originally against it but seeing the dedication of Rooney to come back and all the positive worldwide press featuring the blues I've reversed my opinion.

Even my mate in New Zealand (who knows sweet fuck all about football) was saying Everton were all over the news there. It has also completely reversed any perception of us being a selling club after the Lukaku deal. A deal I might add that got totally eclipsed by our Rooney one, much to Rom and his Instabuddies' annoyance, I'm sure.

John Ronnie
18 Posted 12/07/2017 at 01:51:45
Found myself wandering up Canon Drive in Beverly Hills this afternoon and walked past The Montage Hotel whilst the prima donnas from up the East Lancs were boarding their bus.

Not many of their fans there but a bunch of foreign tourists mainly from the Far East snapping away (hysterically one fella asked if they were an NBA team).

Saw Lukaku and had to bite my lip and refrain from reminding myself I wasn't at Goodison!

Should have seen the way most of them arrogantly boarded ignoring the few that were there. Would it have hurt to stop and sign a few pictures / shirts. Bunch of egotistical pricks with Pogba clearly the worst culprit.

The point of the post is it really hit me that Rom is well and truly at home with that shower.

Well rid of him and although wasn't up for Rooney coming back initially. It fully changed my mind as seeing him on the training pitch and the press conference he seems very humble and now happy to be back in the real world miles away from that bunch over here.

Laurie Hartley
19 Posted 14/07/2017 at 05:30:41
Anton (#4) – what a great post – loved it.

I have just watched the videos of his goal against Arsenal all those years ago and the goal against Gor Mahia yesterday. Same sort of position, same awareness, same technique.

John (#13) – it's always been the same, however, listening to Rooney in his recent interviews I get the distinct impression that he most certainly has a point to prove – after all you can never take the "Fuck You" out of the boy.

Our next game against Man Utd is going to be an interesting affair.


Up the blues.

Tulang Besi
20 Posted 15/07/2017 at 18:19:35
We did quite well under Moyes after Rooney left. But always, we were a bit short to reach the glory. Our main shortcoming was a good finisher. A forward that is feared by defenders and can force the opposition to sit deep because of him.

Rooney would have played where Leon Osman played. But, Rooney's qualities are head and shoulders above compared to Osman. Imagine Rooney in the same attacking team as Tim Cahill, Mikel Arteta, Thomas Gravesen, working with the Baines & Pienaar partnership.

I can actually feel the might of Tim Cahill and Wayne Rooney leading the front line. Rooney would cross with pinpoint accuracy and Cahill's ability to attack from deep would give Rooney a lot of space to move upfront. I could also imagine Lee Carsley having a ball of a time passing to Rooney from deep each time he breaks up a play.

The quality that came to Everton after Rooney left was immense. With Rooney I could imagine us:

a) Winning the 2009 FA Cup
b) Going through deeper into the Champions League in 2005
c) Winning the FA Cup at least 3 more times
d) Regularly finishing top 4
e) Maybe even finishing as Champions in the Premier League at least once.
f) Being a regular in the Champions League.
g) Making Moyes a winner and a world class manager.

Alas, that's all under the bridge now. We missed out on a golden opportunity to be true winners. Ferguson saw that Everton would be a threat to Man Utd if Rooney stayed and he spared no expense to get him. In the process, Rooney gave them shelves of cups. Those cups should have been ours but we didn't have the forward vision to prevent Rooney's departure.

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