Heading For A Fall?

Sunday, 6 April 2003, 0:00
2 mins read

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Don’t get me wrong, Rooney is a very talented footballer who has a very bright future ahead of him indeed. His talent is there for all to see and at long last the English media have someone who they can build up to be the messiah again – last time it was Owen and before that Beckham. One man does not make a team and one win does not make a European Champion so why all the fuss?
Okay, you can understand that Rooney is only 17. Barely old enough to drive but already has an England start under his belt as well as another cap as a substitute. And all that after less than 10 Premiership starts with his club, Everton. But he has talent and without a question – who would you pick Rooney or Heskey?
But now we have the classic English press situation. Over the sports pages they are heralding the new star of English football but you can guarantee that those sports journalists have friends who write the front half of the paper who are desperate to unearth a story about Rooney that will paint him in the opposite light. It may not be anything sinister like he is an axe murderer or the like but you can lay money that within six months you will have read something somewhere about a Rooney misdemeanor.
David Moyes as his club manager is doing his best to protect his young star and good luck to him with that – it will be one of the toughest jobs that he ever has to do in football management. Everyone wants a piece of the young kid and sooner or later they will get that piece. To the English media he is the messiah, the kid who can do no wrong. But imagine a Beckham-like sending off next summer in Portugal and Rooney will be the villain and ‘should never play for his country again’ whilst opposition fans burn dummies of their fallen hero. Sound at all familiar?
It’s been a common trait for years that the British press love nothing more than a hero. Then they love nothing more than a hero that they can set up for a fall. Gazza, Beckham, Owen – they have all been through it and Rooney will be no exception. That is what his club manager needs to warn him about – when it turns sour – because at the moment it is all good.
Rooney has the ability to win many caps for his country and experience some of the highs of his chosen career but at the same time he will have to deal with the lows (and the low lifes) of the gutter press.
It was an interesting week and a decent performance from Rooney but building someone up so high will only lead to a more painful fall.

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