How pressure and expectations helped mold the England National Team's All-Time Goal Scorer
For those not familiar with Wayne Rooney, he is one of the most talented and hard-working players to have ever played the game.
While there are hundreds of clips I can show you to prove this, there is one clip, in particular, that shows what kind of player he was. In this clip, he was coming towards the end of his career at D.C United. The game was tied in stoppage time at the end of a game.
Bear in mind that this wasn't a cup final or anything of that significance, so a draw wouldn't be a horrible result. However, you wouldn't know that by the effort he displayed during this.
Team-oriented, confident, and always willing to play every game like it was his last. This is how he had such a long and successful career.
5x Premier League Winner
Manchester United All-Time Goal Scorer (253 Goals)
England National Team All-Time Goal Scorer (53 Goals)
Champions League Winner
Wayne Rooney started his professional career at the age of just 16 which is astonishing. His debut is regarded as one of the greatest moments in Premier League history. At just 16 years old scored a long-range game-winning goal against Arsenal in October 2002. The Gunners were the reigning champions at the time and hadn't lost for 30 games.
From that moment on he became the face of English soccer. This was a blessing and a curse for Wayne. He was the hope for the English team, and that came with a lot of pressure and expectations.
The England national team hasn't won a major European trophy since 1966. When you think of how much quality that team has had over the years that is almost unimaginable. They have fallen short in both the Euros and World Cups.
Even recently the England team lost the finals of the Euros 2020 to Italy in penalty kicks. Players like Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, and Bukayo Saka received abuse online. This abuse was something that Wayne experienced since he was only 17 all the way until late in his career.
For different reasons, the teams that he was part of didn't reach expectations and that led to him receiving loads of abuse, and that can have an effect on any human being.
This abuse led to drinking problems to cope. Rooney said his drinking problems lasted until 2009 until his son Kai was born.
Getting thrown into the spotlight as a 16-year-old and having to deal with everything that comes with playing for your country at 17 was all new to me.
I was learning on my feet, I had to learn quick, of course there were some mistakes along the way as well. -Wayne Rooney
One of the biggest mistakes of his career occurred in the 2006 World Cup. He was sent off for stamping on an opponent's foot and received a red card. This led to England being knocked out of the cup by Portugal.
He lost his cool on the biggest stage for everyone to see and even worse, it was a bad moment with his teammate at Manchester United Cristiano Ronaldo.
This was the low point of his career. In the eyes of England fans, he was the culprit of their demise and at his club, there was a conflict between himself and one of the important players in his team.
What occurred next is why Wayne Rooney was one of the greats not only talent-wise but mentally. When Manchester United got back to prepare for the season there he was face-to-face with the player who had a hand in souring his perception to England fans.
What did he do?
He told Ronaldo "Forget everything, let's go win the Premier League".
They achieved their goal.
This embodies who Wayne was as a person. It doesn't matter how much pressure he or the team was under it was always important for him to win.
He was the focal point of so many of the title-winning Manchester United teams. Until this day, Manchester United still has not won a Premier League, and that is due to not having players with this mentality and level of commitment to the game of football/soccer.
The coping mechanism he used in the past could've hindered him in the long run but today he is still going strong. He is the manager of Derby County which is an English team in the 2nd division.
He is doing a great job there currently, and in the future, he can potentially come back to the Premier League to manage Everton or Manchester United.
The mental strength he has shown to not only make his struggles public but to stay involved in the game of football/soccer shows us a lot about his character as a person. The chapter isn't closed on his story there is much more that needs to be written.
Maybe one day he can even manage England and help them get that trophy they have been longing for.
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