I never liked Paul Scholes. As I’m a Leeds United fan, that’s hardly surprising – he was virtually ever-present in the Man U sides that took full advantage of favourable economic, administrative and refereeing conditions to dominate for the worst part of two decades. For a devotee of the real United – the Damned United and Last Champions of popular infamy, hated by prats everywhere, my dislike of Scholes was part of my DNA. Fine player though he was, I always felt some hyperbole was at play. Best midfielder of his generation? I think not. The indulgently fond media attitude to his “inability to tackle” made me want to hurl, too. Let’s face it, he was filthy, a thug. In any other team, he’d have been condemned as a Joey Barton with added skill.
However, all that said, Scholes has partially redeemed himself in this Leeds fan’s eyes by daring to think the unthinkable about “National Icon” Wayne Rooney. The Ginger Minger has come right out and, belying his normal quiet man image, he’s done a proper hatchet job on his former team mate. Past his best, Scholes stated. Three words which neatly sum up today’s Rooney who – let’s be brutally honest here – has not done it for England for a long, long time now. What Scholes said was viewed as heresy in many quarters, the sycophantic chattering classes who still ridiculously claim that the former lifelong Evertonian is England’s best player.
Last night, in defeat against Italy, that accolade belonged unquestionably to young Raheem Sterling of Liverpool, chosen from the start ahead of the unlucky Adam Lallana. Sterling looked like trouble for Italy every time he got the ball, quicksilver fast off either foot, jinking, twisting, tormenting opposition defenders. Meanwhile, the one-paced Rooney chugged his weary way through the first half, sulkily neglecting his left-sided defensive duties, leaving Leighton Baines exposed and unhappy.
Lallana really was unlucky to be left out of the side – until late on, when England were chasing the game and Sterling was tying up with cramp. The Southampton star is just what we need on this stage, someone who can receive the ball with his back to goal and go either way, baffling defenders, bringing others into play. There’s a touch of Dalglish there.
Ross Barkley, too, is acquitting himself well for a Leeds Warnock-era reject. The man who was only good enough for our reserves at Elland Road looks at home in an international shirt, powerful, incisive and deadly creative. Again, he was unused until it was just about too late, with Italy set on keeping what they’d got, retaining the ball, striking on the break. Both Barkley and Lallana would have been far better options than Rooney, who – one deadly left-wing cross apart – failed to influence the game. In the second half he screwed one shot horribly wide after a rare, powerful run; he missed an extremely presentable chance to equalise from Baines’ astute through ball – and he took a corner that would have had them laughing on Hackney Marshes.
Now England just have to beat Uruguay on Thursday, in a game the South Americans also need to win after their unexpected beating by Costa Rica. Suarez will be looking to bite the hand that feeds him and – whatever he and his compatriots might say publicly – they will be hoping that this over-the-hill and ineffective Rooney keeps his starting place.
England manager Roy Hodgson is truly on the horns of a dilemma. Scholes has put the alternative pro’s view of Rooney’s waning powers, something that many fans out here can see all too clearly. But while the establishment view remains that Wazza is our present-day Gazza, then little will change – unless the Boss has an unlikely attack of courage and faith in his own judgement. It seems unlikely. Immediately post-match, Hodgson stood there and chanted the mantra; Wayne had a good game. Well, Roy, we could all see how ordinary he was – but it looks as though he’s not run out of last chances yet.
It’s enough to give a Leeds fan a nosebleed to say this but – in the name of God, listen to Scholesy. At the very least, bench Rooney so that you might have the option of introducing him, angry, resentful and looking to wreak havoc, as an impact sub. That, surely, is his best deployment these days. But the complacent, untouchable, sure-fire starter Rooney, the ineffective fixture in the line-up that we saw so anonymous against Italy, is no good to this England team. The trouble is, you won’t get any of the inner circle, or the lapdog media, saying so.
Regrettably – amazingly – there’s only Scholesy out there talking sense. And as a long-time team mate of Wazza, he should know. Somebody high up needs to start listening – it’ll soon be too late.
As a Welsh mans view on your article your spot on,but you forget the filthy press put so much pressure on who ever the manager is that certain players no matter what they do cannot be left out unless injured iff not they get slaughtered.(look how long it took mr beckham to be left out).
On last night’s performance there are a few starters not good enough for England. Welbeck, Henderson, Baines and Hart were all disappointing but Rooney’s shortcomings catch the eye coz of his demi god status among the punditry and media, still, he aint gonna get dropped so lets hope he finds some form, or stubs a toe. MOT
I agree with all you say Rob. I also think that being the spoilt brat Rooney is? He will not be able to handle the criticism from Scoles or anyone else for that matter. My bet is? he will play, become frustrated and end up being red carded at some point for venting his frustration at his poor form and then the nation will see him for what he really is. A “toys out of the pram” petulant child.
Agree with the article but not with the above comments on Welbeck or Baines…… For me id love us to find some way to have Barklay, sterling and Oxlade Chamberlain in the same team……. I cant see how it can be done but it would sure frighten the socks off the opposition.
Back to reality…we lack a cutting edge up front and I cant quite tell if this is down to our players relative inexperience or down to the fact we operate with one striker………….
I totally agree with you Rob, about “Mr Potato Head” Rooney, who looks very slow and off the pace.
I am however, sick of the so called shy and mild mannered Paul Scholes, who has suddenly found a voice from somewhere and is now dishing out scathing criticism like a madman.
I thought that Scholes would now want the quiet life that he craved, while he was a player at Scum, but for some reason he is now wanting more attention and money to add to his already millions, by giving his opinion on his former team mates.
Is it just me or is Phil Neville the most boring co-commentator ever?
No mate, it’s not just you. He makes Peter Alliss sound entertaining.
Phil Neville was Mr Monotone last night – so I red-buttoned the tv and got the 5-live radio commentary with the BBC pics – and our own Danny Mills commenting – much more interesting!
I think it became clear last night that defensive were ptetty poor and the Italians did their homework to expose our left hand side ,, I think maybe one or two players retired too early and because of the pressure it resulted in players having to play out of position and us not able to dictate the pace of the game,,, but I do have to agree with you on this one rob , rooney has never cut the mustard at international level and I think he should retire as an England player after Brazil…
I think he should BE retired – before Uruguay.
Baines is a good left back. Not his fault he was facing 2 players half the time. Our first choice back 4 is good, jagielka especially impressed me, much better on the ball than terry.
We held onto the “golden” generation too long, the hype got exposed, we should have been bringing fresh faces in sooner.
Rooney ‘s reluctance to track back exposed Baines time and again,, THAT cost us the match. Gerrard and Henderson were so intent on stopping Pirlo from passing through the middle that they could not drift wide to help out. We all saw it after 15 mins so why couldn’t Roy change it. Answer, because it would have meant subbing Rooney and if we still lost the press would have killed him.
I too would like to see Ox, Sterling and Barkley all on together with Gerrard the fourth in midfield, I’d play Rooney with Sturridge for half a game and if he’s not at his best dump him.
Come On Massimo, we need a coach MOT
If we play 4-4-2 Lambert should be the main striker with struridge in the hole.
Always rated scholes as a player, he actually matched his billing compared to the overated by the media Beckham, rooney, nevilles & butt (who kept the much better batty out the England team)
I actually thought rooney played better tonight than he’s played in the previous 2 world cups, at least he wasn’t his usual selfish self and put some nice balls in. was well short on pace though. He’s not the only one that was off, Henderson had a poor game, wilshire didn’t look much better when he replaced him
Sterling, jagielka & struridge were bloody awesome though.
For me should be…
Lallana sterling ox
Baines, jagielka, cahil Johnson
With wellbeck, Henderson and barkley to come on as impact subs.
Milner in the holding role would let gerrard come forwards more, Henderson is an attackkng midfielder hes strugling playing out of position.
Also can you or anyone else on here enlighten me as to the magical powers Jack Wilshire posesses
The media talk about him as if hes cruyff or zidane. I think he is garbage and quite possibly the weakest human being ever born
Constantly on the floor rolling about or brushed off the ball
As for Shrek ive said it for years now simply he most over rated footballer ever simple as
Enjoyed the game though so well don Roy
Rooney was not involved much in the game because of playing too far on the left. It was the Liverpool boys that did the work. The back four were suspect.
Engurland need to come out with all guns firing in the next game.
It was half the Liverpool boysthat did the work.
Gerrard and Henderson were poor
Paul Scholes comments in the media well he said a couple years ago that only real rivalry has been in was between the Whites v scum. Not scum v pool in a sense. But okay what comes to Rooney I would have played Ross Barkley in that place originally.
Barkley should play instead of Henderson Wilshere for Gerard Lallana for Welbeck Sterling wide and of course the player who will be Englands top scorer of all time soon Rooney in his proper bloody place ,Englands usuall ploy get your best players and put them in chasing defencive roles then slate them ,Scholes was a brilliant player but you can see why he was told to keep his big gob shut now, another top player who knows f*** all
It’s a bit difficult to swallow that. Scholes played alongside Rooney for so long – and he will remember as well as anyone the Wunderkind of Euro 2004. Scholes KNOWS that Rooney’s best days are far behind him. The media and the usual suspects are simply turning a blind eye to this.
its a familiar pattern with england rob. Dave seaman, great keeper that he was, was kept in too long while nigel martyn was thinking wtf do i have to do, same with beckham good servant that he was kept for 1 tournament too many. Lampard shouldn’t be in brazil, should have taken another centre half like stones. If we had more options for the number 4 shirt, I wouldn’t have gerrard as a guaranteed starter either.
you do know in a 4-2-3-1 the two guys in the 2 are supposed to be defensive midfielders? or some teams play one traditional number 4 with a box to box type player. If barkley plays he has to play in the 3, hes not a holding player by any stretch (mind neither is henderson),
where do you play rooney?
sturridge is the best number 9 – already scored MORE world cup goals than rooney.
sterling and barkley make better number 10s because they are younger, faster, fitter and carry less psychological baggage from prior failures in major tournaments
lallana, chamberlain, sterling and even wellbeck are better out wide
all them attacking players can swap about, play on either wing etc..
rooney is brilliant against weaker oposition, he struggles against top class defences. this is why he is great in qualifying but average in tournaments. This “top goal scorer” stat all his defenders keep chucking around doesn’t matter if most of them are against the likes of finland or whatever.
hes the same at manure – bangs them in for fun against the bottom half of the table – but his last goal against quality opposition was december 2012 vs citeh.
best place for rooney is on the bench and bring him on near the end when defenders are tired and he can out pace them.
wait and see the rest of word cup and next season,contrary to what you say the media and usual suspects are the ones doubting his place in the team I doubt if any one who plays against would agree he is a world class player still playing in 2 sub standard teams
I doubt they’d agree with that too.
he wont be a regular for the manure next season – the team will be built around van persie as the number 9 and mata as the number 10
hes nearly 29 – the likes of alan shearer & micheal owen were dropped by england before that age. Even lineker only played until he was 31, and he was a late starter and his game wasn’t about pace like rooney. we’ve held onto the so called “golden generation” for too long – Rooney, Lampard and even Gerrard should have been left at home so we could use this world cup to build a team for euro 2016. the amount of quality attacking midfielders / liberos at our disposal is frightening.
Shearer wasn’t dropped. He retired- I didn’t agree with it at the time but that’s what he did to prolong his Newcastle Career.
Are you ploughing through the whole back catalogue, kidda?? At this rate, I’ll have one less buyer for the anthology 😉
oh another thing, didi haaman reckons if sterling and barkley were german they’d go straight into their team!
Various England managers have used Rooney as the focal point of the team only for the little twat to let his country down. Now Hodgson is trying to simply accomadate him because of his past reputation and limited ability- he isn’t the best player for England on the left so did Llalana out of a place in the first game, He isn’t the best no 10 for England so did young Sterling out of a position in the second game and he was used as an impact sub for the third game- that is what his position should be for England now in my opinion- an Impact sub as he comes on for the last twenty and looks hungry. He is fast running out of positions to play because either for club or country because still no cunt knows what position to play him in- he’s probably hindering future young players development now- another seasoned bottler for England. NUFC