The Wayne Rooney Phenomenon

Flashback to June 2010.

The Football [Soccer] World Cup was in progress in South Africa. This is the single most popular sports tournament in the World. 

More than 200 national teams attempted qualifying for this premier event, played once in four years. Only the best 32 managed to make it to South Africa.

England was one of these 32 nations. As always, a lot was riding on England at the World Cup. 

They have a host of stars in their national team - Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Peter Crouch, Ashley Cole et all. Another set of super stars - David Beckham, Michael Owen - were on the bench due to injury. 

The English Premier League is one of the most commercial success stories in club football. And many a times, their WAGs (read Wives and Girlfriends) make more news than the players themselves.

Come World Cup - and the entire nation starts thinking that their team is destined to win the Cup.

Wayne Rooney was the guy who was considered to be the lynch pin of the English attack. 

Playing as a striker all year round for Manchester United, he was expected to score goals for England. After all, scoring goals, and lots of them, can make your team a winner.

After having scored 34 goals in the 2009-2010 football season, he was expected to be a likely winner of the Golden Boot Award at the World Cup.

And with this kind of expectation riding on him at the World Cup, he was expected to be in an upbeat mood. A positive approach towards the game was anticipated by the entire nation.

However, he failed miserably at the World Cup. He did not even manage to score even a single goal. 

England had managed to scrape through Round 1. But they faltered in Round 2 - losing poorly to the Germans. And within less than 20 days of the start of the World Cup, England were knocked out of the tournament.

While most players would have headed home in view of the shocking exit in a tournament which is played once in four years, Wayne Rooney made his way to Barbados on a holiday - with his wife Coleen and son Kai.

Pictures like the one below enhanced Rooney's image as a doting father. While the loss of the World Cup made the English fans frown, the smile on Kai's and Coleen's face made many a people bright.

A holiday after playing in a high profile tournament would be a well deserved break for any player. And it should not have gathered much attention.

But then came the news that the Rooney's had booked the holiday just two days before England's knock outmatch against Germany!!

Did Rooney sense that England was not capable of pulling it off against Germany? Did he think that the chances of England winning the game in the next two days was negligible - negligible enough to give him the confidence of planning a holiday two days after the game?

Had he lost the mind game much before the actual game on the field? 

What made him give less importance for something which takes place  once in four years - and holds a very significant value to any sportsman, to any nation?

All these thoughts made the English fans wonder - Two days before the critical knock out match against Germany, where did Wayne Rooney focus on? On the game in Bloemfontein or on the holiday in Barbados?

While the answers to these questions can be answered by Rooney himself, we as mere mortals find ourselves in similar situations - occasionally or regularly. 

These are the times when personal pursuits overcome professional quests. 

This is what I call The Wayne Rooney Phenomenon.

Needless to say, there is nothing wrong in it. 

P.S. The last thought made me go the Wayne Rooney way today. :-)
The Wayne Rooney Phenomenon The Wayne Rooney Phenomenon Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Saturday, September 18, 2010 Rating: 5


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