Jere Longman’s Raging Bull All Grown Up and Leading the English has more than its fair share of references to tattoos, a “petulant, hot-headed youth”, his temper, “visits to prostitutes as a teenager; libelous tabloid accusations (for which he won a lawsuit in 2006) that he had slapped his wife, Coleen (then his fiancée), in a nightclub; or reports of gambling losses that surpassed $1 million in one spree”.
We even learn that the “chunky, meaty faced... son of a Liverpool family of amateur boxers” is “worn out”. That’s according to Landon Donovan, the American midfielder who had the chance to observe Rooney at close quarters while playing for, erm, Everton.
Of course there is the obligatory praise as well.
“Rooney is an incessant worker, deceptively fast on the ball, instinctual in finding a sliver of space, solid in the air, able to shoot from anywhere and increasingly smarter about his runs into the box.”
The article also quotes Rooney’s club manager on the player’s development: “You have to wait until their mid-20s before they get that authority, timing, the maturity, to do things that those qualities bring. This season, he accepted the fact that to get the best out of himself, he had to conserve his energies for the best part of the pitch — the penalty box area.”
Then towards the end I noticed this: “Perhaps none of the World Cup contenders are as dependent on one player as England is on Rooney.”
So there you have it; England is a one-man team. I thought this was leading somewhere, but I wasn't quite sure where until now. Let’s hope they disprove this point in Rustenberg on June 12th.
Raging Bull All Grown Up and Leading the English