The Highs And Lows Of Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United Career

7 03 2013

Rooney's Future Is In Doubt

Rooney’s Future Is In Doubt


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From Pedrito To Pedro

10 06 2011

They say nice guys don’t get anywhere, but Pedro Rodriguez Ledesma must be the exception. The forward is consistently praised for his down to earth persona, somebody who would rather pass on the praise to his star-studded team-mates and while Gerard Pique and Carlos Marchena wanted to be sexually inactive during the World Cup, Pedro had other ideas “[I’ll have] Sex for sure because my girlfriend is here. I hope to have some free time soon.”

You would refer to him as a normal guy. He is not flashy, is not covered in tattoos and tries to avoid the public attention. His favourite pastimes are hiking and snorkelling. He thanks his brother Jonathan for getting him into football and how he learned from playing against him and his older friends. His nature is thanks to the traits his family instilled in him. “I come from a family of hard-working people. My parents told me: Pay attention and you’ll learn. Putting desire into something I like is easy. I saw my parents labour to pull us through, so I’m fortunate to have this as a job.”

The 23-year-old from Santa Cruz on the island of Tenerife has had a meteoric rise in the past few years from being a B team player to starting a World Cup final and becoming the only player to score in six different tournaments in a calendar year in 2009. Here is his team-mate Pique’s evaluation on his development “He has shown how much he can do in the last two years, though it took him a while to get going in the first year. The last two years have been something to see. Everything he has touched has gone in. He’s always on the lookout and at key moments he is always there.”

However his path to the four-time European champions was something of an accident.

Pedro Rodriguez has become an important player for Barcelona.

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How Will Real Madrid Function Without Higuain?

15 01 2011

Since taking over at the Santiago Bernabeu, despite a monumental slip-up against Barcelona, everything has been going rosy for Jose Mourinho. He has implemented a 4-2-3-1 system which the team have adapted to with ease. As the season has progressed, so have Real, who are playing some of the best football in the league; an added bonus for president Florentino Perez, who after sacking Manuel Pellegrini, accepted that winning is the most important policy. The Portuguese coach however has not been one for rotation, and after finding a first X1 he can trust, has been reluctant to alter the first team players. However a back injury to the ever reliable Gonzalo Higuain has left Mourinho in a dilemma. How will he replace the Argentine?

For the past three seasons Higuain has cemented the poacher spot in the team, and a return of 63 goals in his last 101 games had made it difficult for Karim Benzema to displace him. Higuain has mastered how to play the role. He has the ability to hold the ball up to bring others into play, he drifts out to the wings to create space for Cristiano Ronaldo to drive through the centre and also has the persistence of playing on the shoulder of the last man, which helps to stretch the oppositions defence, freeing space for Madrid to squeeze forward.

Benzema and Kaka have a Real Madrid lifeline.

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Manchester United Player Focus – Antonio Valencia

16 09 2010

On Tuesday evening Manchester United opened their Champions League campaign with a 0-0 draw against Scottish side Rangers. There were a few talking points, firstly how Coach Sir Alex Ferguson rotated with his squad and made 10 changes to the line-up from the Everton game, bringing up accusations of arrogance and where his priorities lie – with a Premier League clash against rivals Liverpool on Saturday. Secondly how Rangers performed marvellously to frustrate and stifle United with a disciplined defensive performance, which the Red Devils are used to from travelling teams. Questions arose as to how good this squad really is and how they did not have somebody to unlock the tight knitted defence. Unfortunately the headline was not one people will have comfort in seeing.

Luis Antonio Valencia caught his foot in the turf while under-pressure from Kirk Broadfoot and dislocated his ankle, an injury which is likely to rule him out for the remainder of the season. It evokes sour memories for United fans, as only four years ago Alan Smith picked up the same injury when blocking a shot from Liverpool full-back John Arne Riise. The worry is not if he will recovery from the injury physically – thankfully medical advances in football mean the chances are he will recover – it is that recovery from such an injury is fraught with psychological implications. Since his setback Smith has moved on to Newcastle United, but it is fair to say he is not the same player he was pre-misfortune. He is not alone in that.

Valencia Has Made An Impact At Old Trafford

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Forget Özil And Di Maria, Canales Could Be The Best Buy

15 09 2010

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez had a bright idea when he was elected in 2000. He could build the best squad in the world if they followed some simple procedures. In principal the theory sounded perfect. You would spend enormous sums of money on the best footballers such as Ronaldo (€39 million), Zinedine Zidane (€75 million), David Beckham (€35 million) or Luis Figo (€45 million).

The big names would equal revenue, so television deals and merchandise would enhance because these household names would be attractive, especially in the untapped markets of American and Asia, and eventually that large transfer fee would be recouped. Finally players from the Castilla would be promoted, such as Alvaro Mejia and Francisco Pavon, meaning the beliefs of Real Madrid are installed into the team, they would not cause problems if they were not playing consistently and they would not be heavy contributors to the wage bill.

Canales Is Whetting Madrids Appetite

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Manchester United Player Focus – Wayne Rooney

2 09 2010

This summer’s World Cup was meant to be the platform where Wayne Rooney would showcase his talents in front of a global audience, where he would brush aside the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and demonstrate to everyone just how brilliant he is. Ever since that goal he scored against David Seaman at the age of 16, Rooney has had the pressure of a nation on his shoulders. He is the one contemporary player who has that unique ability and natural confidence, which very few players from these shores have had since Paul Gascoigne. Although it looks like he will be a target for opposition fans this season after his dreadful tournament, how has the lad from Liverpool developed into the forward everyone longed for?

Last season was the greatest season of Rooney’s career in terms of goals, a season in which his style of play was altered. In previous seasons he had been someone who would look to drop deep and link up with the midfield, somebody to drift around the pitch, chasing teams on the counter-attacks, influencing the game and tempo or perhaps put in a defensive shift when asked to play on the left wing on European nights. His defensive work accommodated the virtuoso talents of Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldo’s departure meant his goals needed to be replaced, and the replacement was a source that was not renowned for being prolific. In his five seasons in Manchester, Rooney had only scored 20 or more goals on two occasions. Whilst on the face of it this seems prolific, we have to account for long barren spells the Scouse firebrand so often endured. So how has Rooney morphed into this predator?

Rooney Breaks His Drought

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Manchester United Player Focus – Dimitar Berbatov

12 08 2010

The final piece of the puzzle. That was the term buzzing around Old Trafford on 1st September 2008 after Manchester United concluded the signing of Dimitar Berbatov from Tottenham Hotspur for £30.75 million. The season before was one of United’s best in recent history when they won the double, including their first Champions League trophy since 1999. The strike force consisted of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, two men who couldn’t play together as they were so alike; we were told. Yet the partnership was perfect, and the players complimented each other with their robust nature, continuous pressurising of the opposition defence and had great chemistry, even if Tevez couldn’t speak a word of English. Yet there was something missing. There was no focal point up top, nobody who surpassed 6ft. This is where Berbatov was meant to come in, to expand the capabilities of the team and to offer new ideas.

In his two years in north London, Berbatov had a very impressive record of 46 goals in 102 matches, and surrounded with better players you would have expected him to exceed that record in Manchester. Unfortunately this hasn’t been the case. In 87 matches he has only scored 27 goals, averaging a goal every three games, which is on average a match more than when at White Hart Lane. People will tell you that stats aren’t everything, strikers these days don’t need to score 20 goals a season and that might be the case, but Berbatov doesn’t seem to do enough to warrant this backing. Indeed he is very much the scapegoat. Things are going wrong, why is he playing?

Berbatovs Had Quite A Few Miserable Days

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