March 31st, 2010
10:18 AM ET

Is Wayne Rooney really that important?

The injury to England and Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, sustained in his club's first leg European Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich on Tuesday, has caused panic attacks and palpitations to football fans the world over.

Wayne Rooney limps out of Manchester United's clash with Bayern Munich.
Wayne Rooney limps out of Manchester United's clash with Bayern Munich.

There once was a time when it was only fanatics of the game who would react with hysteria to such seemingly frivolous news (it is just a twisted joint after all, there were no fatalities) but in today's globalized economy - where football is big business and the soccer soap opera captivates the interest of millions around the world - such an event becomes a major deal.

Is Wayne Rooney really that important?

Rooney not playing is a big problem to a number of parties with vested interests. Firstly, the Liverpool-born hit-man has been in prolific form this season - his goal against Bayern was his 34th of the current campaign - a feat that has helped his club side lead the English Premier League, capture a domestic cup and progress to the latter stages of the Champions League.

Alex Ferguson's men play Chelsea on Saturday in a crucial title decider that Rooney will almost certainly watch from the sidelines, he also may struggle to be fit for Bayern's visit to Old Trafford where United need to overturn a 2-1 deficit to stay in the European competition. United fans, consequently, must be worried.

His performances for England helped his nation qualify in some style for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa which kicks off in June; he is the talisman of the squad, Fabio Capello's best player. For England fans, the sight of their most talented footballer getting injured before a major tournament is familiar ground (see David Beckham circa 2002 and Rooney in 2006), hence doom and gloom is already descending on a country well-versed in big-tournament disappointment.

The typically hyped-up British press carried headlines including "Pray" (The Sun), "In Rooins" (The Daily Mirror), and "Roo in Crock Shock Scare" (The Daily Star) - which begs the questions what will the headline writers do during the World Cup without such ripe material to work from?

The 24-year-old must wait on the outcome of a scan to understand how severe the twisted right ankle, which forced him to limp out of the game, is and how long it will keep him out of action. You can bet that domestic broadcasters will report on every tiny update of Rooney's recovery, such is the perceived interest from a captive audience.

Sponsors too will be sweating on the scan results. Rooney represents Coca-Cola and Nike to name but two, and millions of dollars are riding on the exposure Rooney would have given his sponsors' branding and products in South Africa.

Football may still be a team game on the pitch but Rooney's injury and the global reaction to it is just the latest example of how some elite stars of soccer have a gravity all of their own. Let's hope that Crisitano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi avoid a similar fate.

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Filed under:  Football
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Milton Nyakundi

    Yes, Rooney is very very important – first to United then England in the summer. Watching him hobble and subsequently limp off was awful and I can't wait for the scan results. Tha lad has tremendous passion and that has always made him recover in record times – remember the 2006 World Cup.

    For united, its not over until its over next week but I agree with Sir Fergie, they must do better than that; they've got what it takes. All the best 'red devils' do yourself a favor by winning on Saturday because I thought it was a blessing in disguise; had United won, then Saturday's match was going to be very very difficult – not that it will be easier but its always bad domestic assignments often when teams have come from European mid-week success. So, it might be fairly motivational to have lost since bouncing back with victory on Saturday to gain momentum for next Wednesday.

    I bet 'Wazza' will be ready to play on Saturday and hopefully keep his tally up there with another shake of the net, his head or feet can still do it.

    March 31, 2010 at 11:16 am | Reply
  2. gerd.vilardi

    I am sorry for Rooney, but it was no foult of Bayern and with all the fouls that Manu comitte in the game and the poor, very poor Mr. Referee that should have given more cards, even a RED card, there is no reason in the world to have to hurt the player and it should be hard punished by the arbiter, ho yesterday was not qualified to be in a game of this rank.
    I wish Rooney all well and hope that he will play on wed. But one thing is for sure, the Bayern team was the better and they will be in the final, bye Manu.

    March 31, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  3. David S

    "well versed in disappointment"????
    England have basically played to their rankings (roughly top 10)in every recent World Cup.The fact they are always overhyped by the press is not their fault
    Love how CNN (aka USA) like to knock other countries teams when their own team has never done anything of any merit (where are they ranked now? 18? 20?)

    March 31, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Reply

    In Uganda, we have clubs representing those English teams, namely Arsenal, Man U, Chelsea and Liverpool. For each club, we have our team and preferred players. Rooney is one player any supporter of Man U will not like to be missing in action. Even from competing clubs, we acually agree that he is a prolific palyer.

    Africa has English premier league as first choice followed by La liga.

    Imagine going to the world cup without the stars of Europe, many playing for English teams, missing! I would rather not pay Super sport for remaining games.

    March 31, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  5. Var

    So Ben Wyatt You remember this story you did "United will win the Champions League ... I feel it in my bones"
    ... a no briner as you put it. haha

    March 31, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  6. alehandro

    United and to some extent, England, place too much reliance on Rooney and do not have a back up plan if, as has just happened, he breaks down. England have to deal with the hand they're dealt, but United could have helped themselves by being more adventurous in the transfer market, but they chose not to be and could now pay the price. As for the uproar about his injury. Well, if he's hurt the team's hurt, and if you care about the team that's obviously going to hurt you. So in this case I'd say the headlines in the British press are the voice of the people, or at least the people who give a hoot about the game.

    March 31, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  7. bharath honnegowda

    yes Rooney is really important to both England's chances at the world cup as well as Manchester United aim to win the champions league and the premier league tittle this season. For me Rooney is a synonym to soccer. i just cant think about Wayne Rooney not playing at the world cup. Rooney get well soon...

    March 31, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Reply
  8. Pipe Salaz

    Yes!!!! He is more than the key of the England team. He is the type of player who makes a difference on a team. With out Rooney, England doesnt even have a chance of goes to the quarter final. I hope he gets well soon because he is the best.

    March 31, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  9. Juan Zapata

    Who that said Rooney isn't very important doesn't know anything about football. He is very very important and he is very dangerous because of his strong and effectiveness.

    March 31, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Reply
  10. Harley Roy

    Hey Folks, let's bring back the roman games, always a full stadium garanteed!!! and not a ball in sight!! apart from the odd rolling head!! Pro- football is ,In my view, about as interesting as a vasectomy!!!°

    March 31, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Reply
  11. Hollywood

    Yes he is.. No Rooney and England has no chance of winning anything.. that simple....

    March 31, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Reply
  12. Abdul

    Rooney is the inspiration england need to make an impact in the world cup.
    Without him england will crumble! Simple.

    March 31, 2010 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  13. Paul Obi

    his mellifluous flow of football along with his how much a prolific player he has been this season would undoubtedly be missed however united has always been a team to step up to the plate from the loss of cantona,yorke,beckham,ronaldo e.t.c.Giggs in my opinion is the lead playmaker and it is time for him to step up and achieve his immortal status by acuiring the remaining two cups.Also Ferguson would never allow loss back to back. Rooney we pray for u Get well soon.

    March 31, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  14. francis lim

    If were Rooney, I would be smart and be looking at my football career in perspective. I have already won Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Chiampion League . As a footballer, the ultimate goal is the World Cup. Now, I am at the peak year of my career and this is the World Cup year, remember : once every 4 years !!! You dont get too many chances to play !!! Also, England has the best chance in a long long while; a great coach, many good players at the peak of their career. Now, by getting myself injured and missing the World Cup, I would regret the rest of my life !!! C'mon, Rooney, put on the Thinking Cap !!! England can't win World Cup without a fit Rooney!!!

    March 31, 2010 at 10:27 pm | Reply
  15. Jose Maria

    Is that a question? I guess what am really tryin to say is, YES, Wayne Mark Rooney really is that important. I've not seen a player with as much passion for the game, ever. His mere inclusion in the line-up be it for England or Manchester United is enough to peel the skin off oppositions. There's no doubting it Fabio must have got a panic attack seeing Rooney limp off those grounds. With all the demoralising news that's sorrounded the English camp regards the J.T-Wayne Bridge affair and then Beckham's sudden shocker, its perfomances like Wayne's that have kept the English nation still believing.

    April 1, 2010 at 5:08 am | Reply
  16. Oriaku

    A single player can make a difference in the field of play. So Rooney is very very important to manu and england. But other competitors like bayern munichen and Chelsea fans will be praying for him not to recover till after their encounter cos he is a big treat to defence. They will hardly overlap.

    Checkout all the clubs in the world, their team must be built around a particular player which alwasy shows in his absence. So Rooney is important Mr. man.

    April 1, 2010 at 10:35 am | Reply
  17. Abhinandan Reddy

    Rooney is important but not as important as the press makes it sound.

    His injury was minor right from the beginning and its the tabloids who made a big deal out of nothing.

    They wanted a David Beckham in 1999 like story....

    April 1, 2010 at 11:14 pm | Reply
  18. Ahmed

    Of course it is a team game. But one has to realize that a striker is the one who makes a score go from 0 to 1, or from 1 to 2 etc. All the positions behind the striker aim to deliver the ball to the striker so he can score. It follows also that Rooney is the lead striker and as record shows, he has has been scoring very well recently. That's why Rooney is really that important.

    April 2, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Reply
  19. ashik

    c'mon peopl rooney being injured is not a blow to man u for champions league or to england for worldcup. man u can not defeat barca or inter in their current state and for england they never had a proper shot at world cup. its not that roo will score goals agains brazil or germany. they are not wigan or bolton that he will score goal with every touch.

    as a side not i do believe that its blow for man u's title defense.

    April 2, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  20. Ifeoma Obi

    Yea,i agree dat Rooney is very important,d way he moves wit d ball is very exceptional,i am a nigerian and a die hard chelsea fan,but i cant help givin kudos 2 Rooney anytime anyday

    April 2, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Reply
  21. sangpo

    He is the most important playa for England, ManU and me(die hard fan).

    April 3, 2010 at 6:07 am | Reply
  22. Dr. Cajetan Coelho

    Wayne Rooney is indeed very important for his club and for his national team. Rooney's absence in the Manchester United line up made things less difficult for Chelsea in their recent EPL clash. Let's wish the England and Man United striker a speedy recovery and a quick return to match fitness.

    April 4, 2010 at 9:41 am | Reply
  23. Karl Lusbec

    He is one of the few players who are crucial in a team. Like Zidane was to France or Messi is to Argentina.
    On top of that, as a team mates you are more confident when having such a player in your team. Psychological effect, but very true and effective.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  24. pramok

    Both Man UTD and England should learn to play without Rooney or any player.............. Often a player becomes too big for his own good or( boot)
    then the whole team work suffers. I know at times in a game single brilliance of individual counts... but this is a game of team coordination ,
    and the game will long prevail than an individual player !

    April 5, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  25. Leana

    Word Cup participants should rather withdraw from the World Cup as South Africa could be a very dangerous place during the Word Cup 2010. Regardless what anybody says – I will stay at home if I was a participant.

    April 6, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Reply

    Yes rooney is as important as sir fergie is to UNITED,personaly i like him alot.his absence gives a big blow to man u as wel as england.he is a player with potentials.....

    April 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  27. Tilosky

    Yes Rooney is important in every United game cos he's a kind of player that can win a match for a team...

    April 7, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Reply
  28. Timmy

    Honestly united is d best

    April 7, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  29. Adeniyi Henry

    He is one of the crucial player in the word.Both Man.U and England will not like to miss is serves in world cup and for the of primership

    April 8, 2010 at 2:17 am | Reply

    Who cares!
    such an overrated player

    April 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Reply
  31. cody freeman

    Rooney is the best so is Man U, and England. He is a key factor to Man U, and I hope he gets well soon.

    April 8, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  32. Chidi

    Am sorry cos of rooney has injur for anik l pray that @God will heal u very well in jesus name amen

    April 8, 2010 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  33. colours

    Rooney is not the key to man us success, the fact that he is been able to win matches for manchester of late doesnt make him a heroe. Years back when manchester was winning matches was is it Rooney?

    April 9, 2010 at 8:16 am | Reply
  34. Ebi omajuwa

    Rooney is very import to man.united,england and generally to the world because is a player who can singhandedly win a march for his side.and one major thing about him is that he makes football instresting. To everybody.

    April 9, 2010 at 8:20 am | Reply
  35. Kingsley

    Indeed ronn! Is an awesome player.i think he's key to manchester united

    April 9, 2010 at 8:30 am | Reply
  36. Yemostic

    Well rooney is very important in terms of scorering goals,he is the only reliable strikers in man u.if only he was inside the game he must score.

    April 9, 2010 at 11:50 am | Reply
  37. Ogedengbe obafemi

    The abscent of Rooney against Chelsea, create a big problem. when is he goin to fit, is it before the world cup or doring the world cup.

    April 9, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  38. Tj

    I love Rooney & I was sad for my last game(Man-U) with BM.Rooney is the key player to me in Man-U.

    April 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Reply
  39. john mato

    Rooney is ten men in one so he is very important to his team
    (rooney fc )

    April 16, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  40. Finlay Richardson

    i have panic attacks and my doctor reccomends relaxation exercise,-`

    October 5, 2010 at 10:10 am | Reply
  41. Shower Cubicle 

    my sister suffers from panic attack and the doctor prescribed prozac for her because of rooney's move

    October 20, 2010 at 11:30 am | Reply
  42. Aaron

    This is just the type of detail I was in search of. I wish I'd have discovered your web site sooner.

    September 15, 2011 at 8:43 am | Reply

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