Saturday 24 February 2018 / 08:55 PM

Scholes off the mark with Rooney call

Remember Paul Scholes as a footballer?

Very talented, could pick a pass, couldn’t tackle and notoriously shy, right?


But since his retirement in 2013, it’s become more and more obvious that the redheaded former midfield maestro isn’t as shy as we all thought.

Because he won’t stop talking. And most of the time, he seems to either say the most controversial thing that he possibly can…or the most stupid.

Some of his past comments have been pretty valid. He’s had a go at Jack Wilshere for not developing, for example, which was fairly smart.

But some of his other remarks have been way off base. Which brings us neatly onto his latest sound-bites.

After claiming that Manchester United’s players and management look ‘bored’ by their playing style, which may or may not be true, he then went onto deliver the pièce de résistance – his answer to United’s woes:


Pass the ball to Rooney.

Yep, that’s it. Pass the ball to the overpaid and underperforming striker who’s the wrong side of 30. That’ll do the trick.

Sadly, Scholes’ attitude to Rooney is one that’s been reflective of plenty of fans, pundits and managers over the years. And in recent times, it’s been detrimental to both United and to England.

The reality is that Wayne Rooney is no longer the player he once was. Far from it. In fact, he’s now a pale imitation of the player that burst onto the scene in the early 2000s.

Back then he used to take players on, shoot from distance, showcase his incredible acceleration, his fast feet and his physical strength.

These days? Run around a bit, occasionally score a goal, but more frequently lose the ball. Whether he peaked early or he burnt out, precious few will know, but the reality is that the Wayne Rooney that Scholes seems to think still exists is no longer alive.

Scholes’ comments are not atypical, but are nonetheless a concerning reflection of English football’s obsession with the striker.

Until we start to realise that Rooney is no longer ever the right answer, his underperformance will continue to surprise us – and ‘experts’ like Scholes will continue to extol his dubious virtues.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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