Friday 23 March 2018

Rooney might already be past his best – Scholes

Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes
Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes

Matt Law and Henry Winter

Paul Scholes has claimed his former Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney could be worn out at 28 years of age and has questioned whether England manager Roy Hodgson has the "balls" to drop the striker at the World Cup.

Rooney has put in extra training to get over a groin injury ahead of the tournament in Brazil and is desperate to make an impact. But Scholes, who played with Rooney and worked as a coach at United under interim manager Ryan Giggs at the end of last season, fears Rooney may already be past his best. He has struggled to produce his best form at an international tournament since the 2004 European Championships.

"Wayne was in the Everton team at 16 years of age," said Scholes, who retired for the second time last year. "Since then he's played at Euro 2004, two World Cups, Premier League, and Champions League every year at United.

"There's a chance he's worn out. Wayne's peak may have been a lot younger than what we'd expect of footballers traditionally.

"Age 28 or 29 has been the normal 'peak'. With Wayne, it could have been when he scored 27 league goals in 2011/2012 when he was 26.

"Wayne might be a player who'd retire come 31 or 32, given the amount of football he's played. Ryan Giggs has been on the go for ages, but he adjusted his position. Can Wayne do the same? I don't think Wayne will be able to play centre forward right up to 34 or 35. But he could play centre midfield, possibly, into his mid-thirties. He's got all the ability to take over my old position at United."

Hodgson is the latest England manager aiming to try to get the best out of Rooney at the World Cup, but Scholes has suggested he should no longer be an automatic pick.

"I'm not saying Wayne needs to be dropped, but if form doesn't get up to scratch in the warm-ups, or in the first game of the World Cup, it'll be interesting to see if the England management team has the balls to make that decision," said Scholes.

"We have quality forwards in the squad this time. That should give Wayne the competition he needs to spur him on a little more.

"He's played in eight World Cup games without a goal. You expect more of him. If Wayne is going to be one of the best footballers in the world, this World Cup is where he has to produce."

Writing for his Paddy Power blog, Scholes revealed he does not expect to be part of the United coaching staff under new manager Louis van Gaal next season and has claimed executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is under pressure to prove he is up to the job.

"He has to bring the players in that the new manager wants. It's obvious that last year he didn't manage to do that." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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