How World-Class Is Wayne Rooney?

Ollie Irish

28th, January 2010


By Ollie Irish


Yes, as Wayne Rooney once told his England team-mates, the big man is back. Not that he ever went away, but this season is turning out to be a watershed campaign for Wazza, as he makes the transformation from Cristiano Ronaldo’s wingman to the man at Old Trafford.

There can be no doubt that Rooney is now the top dog at Manchester United. He is what Lionel Messi is to Barcelona, a player without an armband but the team’s natural leader – from the front, like Messi. Not even Ronaldo at Real Madrid has that status.

Alex Ferguson, who deserves huge praise for the way he has helped Rooney develop (remember all the ominous talk about Roo’s dodgy temperament and self-destructive tendencies, about how he would turn out to be the next George Best or Gazza), hailed his star player as “truly world-class” after last night’s League Cup triumph against Man City (photos of that match coming soon).

But how world-class is Rooney? Where does he currently stand compared with talents like Messi, Torres and Ronaldo? Based on his stunning performances against City, when he was a one-man wrecking ball – but with quite brilliant control, physically and mentally – I’d rate him as the best attacking player on the planet. Right now, I mean. In more general terms, and factoring in the past couple of seasons, I’d still say he’s a little way below Messi and Ronaldo, but it seems the gap is closing.

Where do you rate Rooney among the world’s best forwards?

Posted in Featured, Man Utd, Opinion

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  1. Chringle says:

    He’s not as technically as good as Messi and Ronaldo, but in terms of effectiveness he’s top of the pile at the moment.

    He is carrying Man Utd at present, but instead of him growing weary of it (like Gerrard seemingly is at Liverpool) I think he will relish the task.

  2. Chringle says:

    Oops! One too many as’ at the start there!

    I’ll get the hang of this typing malarky sooner or later.

  3. Kipp says:

    Thank god you have an editor.

  4. Luke says:

    Rooney seems to be improving alll the time .He does,nt need to do the trickery as much as Ronaldo.His strength team play and goalscoring ability are too much for teams to handle…

  5. MattyDub says:

    No doubting he is world class, but I can’t see him ever winning the ballon dor… he is not the type of player that would win it

  6. syndex says:

    Simple maths
    barca would survive without messi, Real hardly notice when ronaldo is not playing, Man Utd would be crippled without Rooney and in matches between the three the bookies tend to make it about even. So as an everton fan it pains me to say it but he is porbably the best player in the world at the moment.

  7. Liam says:

    Your having a laugh.I heard the weekend that Rooney was World Class,so i
    looked at the Hull game to see what all the fuss was about.Four goals
    i thought lets see whats so special.The first goal was pushed straight to him by the keeper.The second there was no one within Ten Metres of him,with a player down injured in the six yard box.The third goal was a header inside the six yard box with no marking.The fourth was a good goal.
    The star of the match against City was Giggs,who put the winner on a plate for Rooney.Rooney didn’t play well and the young Centre Half had him in his pocket.
    Rooney is nowhere near World Class and one reason for that is everytime he gets the ball he goes to his right.If you dont believe me just watch him the next game.World Class my ass.He’s one of these players who no matter how bad he plays,the press say he’s great,two more are Steven Gerrard and in the past Roy Keane.

  8. dairy milk says:

    only a fool would deny rooney as a world class player

  9. Me says:

    Excellent player, but world class? for me he should boss more games, score more winners. Stop branding players world class, it’s not cool. The last world class player football had was zidane, sadly the world of football has no more talent. It’s only because he’s english that he gets the world class title :)



  10. timbo says:

    Gee, Dairy Milk, I guess there’s no arguing with a dismissive remark like that.

    Actually, Liam got it pretty spot on. And for those who care to reflect on the game, Rooney had a crappy game until he was fortunate enough to latch on to a pearler of a pass from Giggs and redeem himself for missing an absolute sitter earlier, one that could have cost United dearly. Consider the fact that with the difference of a couple of minutes of injury time left to score the tie-winning goal, Rooney would have ended up being pilloried from one end of the country to the other for displaying his wastrel talents yet again in front of goal. I have rarely seen a striker so profligate when it comes to murdering decent chances at scoring, while more often than not the goals that go in are delivered to him on a plate (such as yesterday) where it would be nigh on impossible to miss.

    Yesterday was classic Rooney – squandering one goal, putting another one in thanks to the class and placement of another (had Rooney missed, another United player was open and ready to bury the ball). So basically Rooney finished all square for the day – murdered one opportunity that could have cost us, evened up the ledger by finally getting another relatively easy one in. What’s world class about that?

    People need to get a grip on this over-hyped kid who hasn’t learnt a thing in the last 4 – 5 years. He still wastes an enormous amount of energy fruitlessly running all over the pitch and constantly getting himself out of position, his passing game and mental acuity are generally pretty poor, his positional play and awareness of teammates are awful, and his shooting is so woeful at at times that one wonders if he could hit the proverbial side of a barn. George Best he ain’t, not by a long way – the only thing he has over George is his ferocious attitude to the game.

  11. Hootie says:

    Internet screaming hurts my eyes.

    Obviously we’re dealing with a subjective term with a shifting definition here. But, I do think it’s okay to call Rooney world class. He’s the one of the top three players in arguable the top league in the world.

    I’m less generous when considering him among the world’s very best, though. Despite the current purple patch, I’d still have to place him on the low end of the top ten players right now. I would pick Messi, Ronaldo, Villa, Iniesta, and Xavi above him without thinking twice and, depending on how I’m currently feeling about them, maybe even Torres, Drogba, Essien, and Ibrahimovic.

  12. Me says:

    You cant tell me winning the Champions league is better than winning the World Cup? it’s not a dismissive remark. It’s the truth.

    Why do you think “Englands golden generation” has failed at the international level? too many overrated players. Wayne Rooney is not world-class.

    “People need to get a grip on this over-hyped kid who hasn’t learnt a thing in the last 4 – 5 years.”

    Totally agree. It’s questionable whether his big contract at united effect that, or would he still have been the same at everton.

  13. Rajesh says:

    Rooney is a very good player. But he has miles to go before he can be on line with Messi and Ronaldo or even others like Xavi, Iniesta or Kaka.

  14. the gooner says:

    fuck you timbo and liam, bitter liverpool/man city fans arent wanted anywhere. as an england fan, i cant help but congratulate rooney on his astonishing performances. ok, he missed one chance, but he took 4 against hull. its easy for *Liam* to dissect and break down every goal in such a way that makes them seem worse, but the fact is he finished them off. otherwise most goals would be equally rubbish. oh it was a one on one. oh the defender gave him loads of space. oh it was an assist that made the finish easier. Rooney is awesome

  15. Rocky says:

    Good question. How world-class is Rooney? I have no idea. Rooney is good but Fergie said all that just to overrate him yet again, even if Rooney has always been HIGHLY overrated by the English media.

    For me, Tevez is the best. Tevez is a real-life “Rocky Balboa” in football world. He is the most passionate and talented footballer I have ever seen since Maradona and he has great talent/skills as well. Now he continues to score a lot of goals with some really great goals that will only make him more and more dangerous, thus better and better. The player with the highest passion and highest talent will always be the very best. Thus Tevez is the very best.

    Rooney is hitting his best form now. Rooney has been playing for Man Utd for so many seasons already. So his form now after so many seasons playing with the same club is no surprise. But Tevez is getting better and better, to most pundits surprise (perhaps they never know him well enough). And Tevez just joined a new club (Man City of course) for only half a season and already hitting the same form as Rooney who plays for the same club for so many seasons already!

    Rooney (best form now, many seasons with same club) and Tevez (better and better, half season with new club) are now equally comparable to each other. So it is quite clear here, who will become the best.

  16. tyler says:

    Timbo, you’re a clown if you don’t recognize that Rooney’s work rate and hussle and willingness to come back and help out on defense is one of the things that make him world class. He gives much more to the team than just his league leading goal tally.

  17. Ben says:

    A good question, no doubt. For what it’s worth, my view is that Rooney is one of the best players in the world right now, one of the very best players of his generation. What you define as “world class” is somewhat arbitrary, does it mean “good enough to play against the best in the world”, in which case clearly Rooney (and half a dozen other England players) qualify, or does it mean “would get into a World XI if aliens invaded and fancied a game”, in which case it’s a tougher call. Personally I’d stick him in there, playing off Torres with Messi and Ronaldo on the flanks. Attacking, yes, but those aliens don’t like it up ’em, and besides, the future of the human race is at stake.
    But I digress. Rooney is great, Messi’s better, let’s all stop all this fussin’ and a-feudin’ and appreciate amazing football, eh?

  18. Hirsty says:

    People outside of England don’t rate him because he’s English, people in England do rate him because he’s English. Fact of the matter is he’s an incredible player, and on current form probably the best player in the world right now. Arguing about “this player’s better than this player” is fruitless and annoying, as more often than not it comes down to personal preferences and favouritism.

    Rooney is one of the top 5 players in the world right now. Fact.

  19. Meji says:

    I’m in England and don’t think Rooney has what it takes to take England all the way. To me – he may be one of the best strikers in England – in the world? I think not.

    I want him to do well though for England.

  20. […] How World-Class Is Wayne Rooney? » Who Ate all the Pies […]

  21. Mo200375 says:

    You lot are all fuckin idiots!!! and no nothing about football!!! Wayne Rooney is World Class.

  22. Steve says:

    Let’s have a reality check on all this nonsense about Rooney being world class. Let’s look at the facts:Rooney scores against the premiership fodder teams:acknowledged. Rooney played against AC Milan
    2007 champions league semi-final and was nowhere to be seen. Rooney played against Barcelona and chelsea 2008 champions league semi and final stages, nowhere to be seen. Rooney played against Porto 2009 away quarter-finals, Ronaldo to the rescue not Rooney. Rooney played against Arsenal semi-final Ronaldo not Rooney to the rescue. Ronaldo played against Barcelona 2009 Final Rooney nowhere to be seen. Rooney played for England qualifiers Euro 2008 didn’t qualify.

    Conclusions: Let’s judge Rooney’s world class status on what he does at the big-boys stages of big-boys competitions(World cup quarter’s onwards and champions-league quarter’s onwards):so far not a great success, but let’s wait and see before we get carried away.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Darren Bent has scored 14 premier league goals in a lack-lustre Sunderland team only six short of Rooney who is playing in a team that creates more chances than any other team per game. I am sure Bent or any half-decent striker would match Rooneys present goal tally in that set-up.
    That is just common-sense. Stop bigging-up Rooney.

  24. Anonymous says:

    When Rooney scores vital goals in the quarter/semi/finals against teams of the ilk of Brazil,Holland,Italy,Spain then I will consider him world-class. Stop giving him world-class status judged on his performances against hum-drum premiership teams.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I agree,when you consider Bent has scored that many for a poor Sunderland team and four of Rooney’s goals came against Hull then in that context Rooney’s exploits don’t seem so prolific. Also considering he cost Man Utd £25.6 million then he should be scoring 20+ goals every season as a minimum, not just this.

  26. Anonymous says:

    England will flourish at the group stages of the World cup which will send the press and media into over-hype mode about how awesome and immense the Lampards,Gerrards and Rooneys are. This will of course have the nation duped and gulled into the same thinking. Then they will have a crunch showdown game against a Brazil,Italy,Holland or Spain. This will prove a bridge too far for them as usual and then everyone will as usual blame one or all of the following: the manager’s tactical naievty, the heat,the pitches,the arduous premiership calendars tolls on the players,etc etc; everything but the obvious which is that the players were never that great in the first place. If you assume as I do that these players are only average then you will not have world-cup heartache when the flop occurs. Oh yes, and when the premier league starts again after a summer of disappointment everyone will have short memory syndrome again when Rooney,Gerrard and co start suddenly start performing once again against the premier league chump teams;and all will be forgiven and forgotten and the players can go back to their so called world-class status once again.

  27. Steve says:

    Read Liam’s comments about Rooney against Hull and I am in total agreement. Also anonymous aboves comments. Thought I was going mad
    and it was a case of if you can’t beat them (fighting against the tide of Rooney fanatics)join them. Most of Rooney’s goals if analysed closely are routine very close-in tap-in’s.Nothing outstanding or breathtaking, as the press and media would have you believe,if you were daft enough.

  28. junior says:

    What makes a player world, what makes a player great, and who determines the definition and status of world class athletes. These are very important comments whether you’re a Rooney fan, anti-Rooney or just a neutral, but the man has been in-form in the Prem this year and is the inform man in football right now check the stats.People has aright to their own opinion but no one can deny that right now the man is at the top right now and still has so much room for improvement. Rooney is not the traditional striker who stick up front and wait for the ball while his teammate work tirelessly and doesnt put in the effort until he get the ball( case in point Ronaldo,Torres,Ibrahimovic,Villa van Nistelroy, Inzaghi) point is your judge based on what you do for your team- your dont necessarily need dazzeling skills but its your effectiveness and your ability to carry the team this is what he’s doing right now despite his missed chances. Which player right now has a better strike rate that rooney (NON) Zidane was world class until his head butt, look at henry at arsenal, drogba, messi whos surrounded by so many top class players and also kaka and ronlado at real so who determines world class its all up to your own personal feelings, likes and dislikes toward the player – but I will say this without rooney England is dead cuz he is the most talented and techinal striker thats in England the others ae just scrapping along and wont get to that stage

  29. Conal says:

    People keep saying that Rooney can only tap in goals, and its all about the delivery and he shouldn’t be considered world class. Ruud van nistleroy was the KING of tap ins. He was a world class goal scorer, and would have been in most ppls world XI at his best. Rooney used to score amazing goals and people would say, he doesn’t score enough. Now he’s banging them in, people are saying ‘meh they are all just tap ins…anyone could do that.’ Rooney is as effective as any other player out there at the moment. And over a season his contribution is amazing. True he hasnt preformed on the big stage yet, but the world cup is coming, and then we can judge him. But until then, the fact that he is destroying these weaker teams week in week out with such a high level of consistency unparralled to anyone else atm, means that he HAS to be considered one of the best in the world

  30. kritter says:

    Messi is currently scoring hat tricks like it’s as easy as having breakfast. Rooney is good. He’s not as good as Messi. That’s it.

  31. terry says:

    rooney is good but not great,to be honest id rather play owen than rooney for england.i think taking owens injury problems away and wrong club moves away he would of been world class shame he is injured for this world cup and that capello dont like him coz if i was the english manager he would of been the first on the plane with rooney being my 3 or even 4 selected atacker.

  32. terry says:

    oh and heskey i fucking dont rate him at all and never have done which ever scout spotted him needs shooting

  33. Hmmm Rooney exploited says:

    Wayne Rooney is NOT world class, he never was and I hugely doubt he has the ability to be world class. World class players always have the ability to feature in big and small games, from what I have seen of Wayne Rooney, he hardly turns up.
    He is not a prominent dribbler, passer and shooter of the ball. Yes he has some moments of brilliance, but doesn’t every footballer? Tony Yeboah had some brilliant moments, but was he regarded as a world class player? No. Rooneys moments of brilliance are very few and far in between. World class players have moments of brilliance on a constant basis!

  34. Wayne Rooney is NOT world class, he never was and I hugely doubt he has the ability to be world class. World class players always have the ability to feature in big and small games, from what I have seen of Wayne Rooney, he hardly turns up.
    He is not a prominent dribbler, passer and shooter of the ball. Yes he has some moments of brilliance, but doesn’t every footballer? Tony Yeboah had some brilliant moments, but was he regarded as a world class player? No. Rooneys moments of brilliance are very few and far in between. World class players have moments of brilliance on a constant basis!
    Who ate all the pies? Rooney! 95% lard 5% fat.

  35. Cassious says:

    fuck off gooner! rooney is an average player… not even top class.. just overrated!

  36. Cassious says:

    he also looks like shrek!

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