Archive for the ‘Wayne Rooney’ Category
Don’t call me Dean! How Daniel Sturridge is keeping up the family goal-scoring tradition and believes in Wayne Rooney partnership
Two decades on from the spectacular goalscoring exploits of Dean Sturridge, his nephew Daniel is enjoying the limelight with both Liverpool and England – and the ace marksmen is hellbent on making the world remember his name at next summer’s 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Dean Sturridge made his mark when he topped scored with 20 goals to help Derby County win promotion to the Premier League in 1995/1996. It was a spectacular season for the Rams that launched Sturridge – who went on to complete 10 years with Derby – onto the biggest stage in domestic football.
“People still call me Dean now,” says the current England ace Daniel, adding: ”I’ll say ‘wait a minute I’m Daniel’.
The 24-year-old has found a new lease of life since moving to Liverpool, scoring 21 goals in 29 games since he has been regularly accommodated in the central striker role he has always enjoyed the most. Initially benefitting from the 10-match ban for Luis Suarez, Sturridge has since formed what he describes as a “telepathic” partnership with the world class Uruguayan hitman.
If Sturridge can forge a similar understanding for England with Wayne Rooney, the sky is the limit for the hotshot who showed no lack of ambition when he decalred as a 19 year old at Chelsea: ”If a player said he didn’t want to be one of the greats in football, then he would be lying because everyone wants to make a stamp on football.”
“It can definitely be as good,” says Sturridge of his partnership with the Manchester United striker. ”Wazza is a world-class player and it is easy to play with him. I enjoy playing with him. We complement each other’s game. In training, it is almost like we don’t need to work on things. We know where we are, where team-mates are.”
On recent form England will go to Brazil as no hopers. But as all top managers will tell you, you always have the ability to beat the best when you have top strikers. In Sturridge and Rooney, Roy Hodgson’s men potentially have one of the most lethal strike forces in world football. And if they do hit it off next summer, the days of people getting Daniel Sturridge’s name wrong will definitely be a thing of the past.
Wenger reaping rewards for putting faith in Aaron Ramsey when Welsh youngster looked destined for Manchester United
You can say what you like about the durability of an Arsenal side searching for their first silverware in nine seasons. But the Gunners boast one of the standout players of the season so far in Aaron Ramsey . . . and the most successful Premier League manager in Arsene Wenger.
Ramsey, whose career was threatened by an horrific double leg break in February 2010 inflicted by a tackle from Stoke City’s Ryan Shawcross, is making the kind of impact that will soon see him being compared to fellow Welshman Gareth Bale if his progress continues.
And you have to credit Wenger for putting his faith in the prodigiously talented youngster, who once looked destined for Old Trafford.
Much has been said and written about the professor stealing a march on his rivals when he pulled off the standout signing of the summer with the spectacular £42.5 million capture of German superstar Mesut Özil.
But just as crucial for the Gunners was the business Wenger did five years ago when he persuaded the Cardiff City youngster to opt for a move to North London rather than the North West.
The Bluebirds’ youngest ever player at just 16 years and 124 days when he made his debut in 2007, Ramsey soon became one of the most sought after youngsters in Europe, attracting interest from Everton and Manchester United.
While United reportedly offered £5 million for him to be loaned back to Cardiff, it was the Gunners who secured Ramsey’s signature when Wenger matched that bid and promised to put him straight into his first team squad.
That crossroads in his career will give an extra edge to the showdown between defending champions Manchester United and this season’s pacesetters Arsenal on November 10. But whatever the outcome, there is no doubt that Ramsey is a player with the world at his feet.
FACT FILE: AARON RAMSEY
:- Born 26 December 1990, he joined the Youth Academy at Cardiff City when he was eight years old.
:- He made his debut for the Bluebirds on the final day of the 2006/2007 season, when he came on as a substitute in a the final minute of a 1-0 defeat by Hull City. He was still 241 days short of his 17th birthday.
:- Signed for Arsenal in the summer of 2008 for £5 million.
:- Made his competitive debut for Arsenal in a Champions League qualifier against FC Twente on 13 August 2008
:- Given his first run out in the Premier League a month later against Blackburn Rovers.
:- His first goal for the Gunners came in a 5-2 Champions League win at Fenerbahce on 22 October 2008, making him the fifth youngest scorer in Champions League history.
TITLE RACE: ROONEY v RAMSEY
While Aaron Ramsey has been the player whose outstanding early form has been arguably the biggest surprise of the season so far, even more spectacular has been the way Wayne Rooney has shrugged off doubts about his future at Old Trafford.
Rooney has a great record against the Gunners, a side he has enjoyed superb form against, ever since he burst onto the scene with that famous strike as a 16-year-old for Everton to become the youngest goalscorer in the Premier League. Not surprising that Wenger and Jose Mourinho both wanted to sign him in the summer. What top manager wouldn’t want to sign him?
Ramsey, meanwhile, also has form against United. In 2010/2011, he scored the winner at the Emirates. It came at the end of the season that celebrated his return from his career threatening injury, after signing a long-term contract with Arsenal.
There will be many other potential matchwinners on show next Sunday, with Robin van Persie and Olivier Giroud both hitting the target on a regular basis. But Rooney v Ramsey at Old Trafford will be a fascinating showdown between two players at the top of their game.
HOW WAYNE IS STAKING HIS CLAIM TO BE UNITED’S NEXT LONG-TERM SKIPPER
Manchester United’s new manager David Moyes deserves enormous credit for standing by his former Everton protegee and helping the England striker rediscover his best form. Wayne Rooney looks lean, mean and determined to prove the critics wrong who have been too quick to write him off.
In fact it will be no surprise to see Moyes hand Rooney the captain’s armband, further underlining the new boss’s pre-season insistence that there is no way Wazza will be leaving United any time soon.
With the countdown under way to next summer’s World Cup in Brazil, Rooney has looked in menacing form and is hopefully destined to make an injury-free impact on a major international tournament for the first time. Meantime, he has been United’s most consistent performer and the main reason why the defending champions are still in touch with race for the Premier League title.
Rooney has shown his leadership qualities by lifting his team mates during a difficult start to the season and with Patrice Evra and other senior players nearing the end of their United careers, the case for making him skipper is stronger than ever.
Given the captain’s armband on several occasions by Sir Alex Ferguson,Rooney has already had the honour of being captain for Moyes in the Capital One Cup win over Liverpool.
Meantime, his leadership skills will be needed against form team Arsenal, even if he is not the player who leads United out against the table-toppers.
Is Wayne Rooney world class? Why England’s finest will shape up and accept challenge to fulfill potential
How pathetic and predictable that the media jumped on the band-wagon of concluding that Wayne Rooney is on his way out of Old Trafford after he was left on the bench for Manchester United’s Champions League crunch encounter with Real Madrid this week.
There is always a stampede of opportunistic journalists and headline writers across every form of media, from newspapers and bloggers to radio and television, who revel in trying to knock sporting heroes off their pedestal, especially if they play for Manchester United.
Ignore all the media gossip and agent-inspired spin whenever you read a story about Rooney because the truth is 99.9 percent of speculation is absolute rubbish, even when so-called experts claim they have been briefed by reliable sources.
The truth is the media spend most of their time trying to guess what is really happening and there are only ever a small handful of people in the know. But newspapers do not care if they think a headline will sell more copies or attract more online viewers. It is that simple.
When Sir Alex Ferguson says Rooney is going nowhere and there is total silence from the player himself then you know that the media got it hopelessly wrong.
Speaking at his press conference pre Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea, Fergie put the record straight when he said: “The Wayne Rooney nonsense first? Or do you want to talk sense? The issue you’re all going on about is rubbish. There’s absolutely no issue between Wayne Rooney and I. The suggestion we don’t talk on the training ground is nonsense. The decision to not play him was purely tactical and he understood that. Wayne will be here next year, you have my word on that.”
Forget the headlines, the real issue for me is that Rooney has underperformed on occasions over the last couple of seasons, not to mention the last three major international tournaments. And if he wants to continue to be regarded as truly world class, United’s England star must show he still has the hunger and desire to fulfil his true potential.
Despite all his goalscoring milestones, there is a sense that Rooney has never quite delivered at the highest level. Even though his record in the Champions League will suggest otherwise.
A remarkable statistic before the Real Madrid encounter was that Rooney had a better record in the Champions League knockout stages in goalscoring percentage terms than Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Didier Drogba or Robin van Persie. But there is no doubt in my mind that Rooney can do better. And that is the challenge he faces if he wants to be regarded as one of the true greats in Manchester United history.
My guess is that Rooney wants the everlasting glory to match his trophies and goalscoring exploits and being left on the bench will give him the nudge he needs to step up and get back to his best. There is no better club in the world to help him achieve his goals and in Robin van Persie he has a the perfect striking partner to make that happen.
Fergie clearly still thinks Rooney will deliver. And that will only change if he fails to respond by working hard to do his absolute best for Manchester United.
Leading 4-2 against Everton, Manchester United took their eye off the ball and let the Merseysiders off the hook to steal a point in a thrilling 4-4 draw.
It was a sickening blow for United on the day Wayne Rooney scored a double to take him past George Best and Denis Violet in the Reds’ all-time goal-scoring chart.
But it does not change the fact Sir Alex Ferguson’s men will go to the Etihad Stadium in the box seat on April 30 and the destiny of the title is still in their hands. It’s never over til the fat lady sings – and United fans know that better than anyone.
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Luis Suarez deserves Fergie’s criticism for refusing to shake Patrice Evra’s hand and continuing to fuel his image of being a racist
Luis Suarez did nothing but bring shame on himself and Liverpool Football Club with his petulant display in the Merseysiders’ 2-1 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Not content with brushing away Patrice Evra’s attempt to shake his hand in the pre-match formalities, the Uruguayan spat venom throughout his first start since his eight-match ban for racially abusing the United skipper in the reverse fixture last October.
The hostility boiled over at half-time when Police and stewards had to shepherd the players into their dressing rooms at halftime. Evra, who kept his dignity throughout the crunch Premier League showdown, could not hide his pleasure at the final whistle when he jumped for joy in front of the Stretford End and celebrated United’s win that takes them top of the League.
Suarez, whose late consolation goal was Liverpool’s only reply to a glorious double from Wayne Rooney, at least had the good sense not to react as his team-mates ridiculously did when Evra’s post-match celebrations continued in front of him as he headed for the tunnel.
But it is hard to disagree with Sir Alex Ferguson’s assessment when he launched a scathing assessment of Suarez for his refusal to shake hands with Evra.
Insisting the Uruguayan should never play for Liverpool again, Fergie told Sky Sports: “I couldn’t believe, I just could not believe it. Patrice told me this morning, ‘I’m going to shake his hand, I’ve nothing to be ashamed of.’ But then Suarez refuses. He’s a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club.
“Some players should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again, the history that club’s got, and he does that. In a situation like today he could have caused a riot.”
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Fortune favours the bold as Manchester United’s comeback kings peg back Chelsea and win a new legion of fans on planet football
In the great history of Manchester United comebacks the fightback from 3-nil down against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was right up there with the best of them.
A penalty double from man-of-the-match Wayne Rooney and a point saving header from sub Javier Hernandez served up by the ageless Ryan Giggs crowned this latest escape by the comeback kings.
So irresistible was United’s recovery to finish all-square at 3-3, I would not be surprised if the Red Devils picked up another million followers around the world, such is the remarkable global reach of the Premier League.
While that parochial affair the Super Bowl gets excited about attracting a TV audience of over 100 million once a year, Premier League games are viewed in 643 million homes around the planet.
Officially the world’s No.1 league with an annual audience of 4.7 billion, it is matches like this epic showdown between the two teams who between them have won the Premier League for the last seven seasons that makes it top of the TV viewing figures.
Without England trio John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, the Blues – fortunate to lead 1-0 at half-time courtesy of a Jonny Evans own goal – thought they had the match won when took a 3-0 lead. A stunning Juan Mata volley 24 seconds after the re-start and a David Luiz header deflected home by Rio Ferdinand left United with a mountain to climb.
But the champions bravely rolled the dice when Sir Alex Ferguson sent on subs Hernandez and Paul Scholes and went for broke risking a repeat of that 6-1 thumping by title rivals City. This time the gamble paid off and fortune favoured the bold as United survived a wasted opportunity by Fernando Torres.
Denied two strong penalty appeals in the first half, United got what they deserved when Howard Webb twice pointed to the spot and Rooney planted both spot kicks past Petr Cech. When Hernandez headed the equaliser six minutes from time United sensed a winner but in the end were thankful for a superb fingertip save by David de Gea from Mata.
“That game today epitomises what English football is about,” said Ferguson, who typically was disappointed to see his side drop two points in the chase of League leaders Manchester City.
FA Cup is still the greatest domestic cup competition in the world – and United hungry to take the trophy off City
The media are constantly telling us that the FA Cup no longer has the status it used to have – but take it from me it is still the trophy all players want to win.
When Manchester United visit City tomorrow they will be motivated not just by the burning desire to knock their noisy neighbours off their perch.
Ryan Giggs and the resting Darren Fletcher are the only players at Old Trafford who have won the cup. And there is no greater motivation than that for the likes of Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Luis Nani.
The bookmakers have Cup holders City as odds on favourites. But mark my words this is the best time to pile your money on United and after the week he’s just had I’m tipping Rooney to stand up and make the difference.
Newcastle embarrassed United more than Blackburn because they won easily and now the Reds must bounce back against City
Losing at home to Blackburn was a disaster, but the crushing 3-nil defeat at Newcastle was far more embarrassing for Manchester United because the Champions were well beaten – and on this form could even struggle to finish in the top four.
United are just three points behind rivals City with 18 matches remaining. But the reality is the Reds must rediscover their form, and they must do so quickly or the New Year blip will turn into a crisis. The stakes could not be higher when Manchester’s top two go head to head in the FA Cup third round at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
The Cup showdown is the perfect opportunity for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men to answer the critics. But the pressure is on because injuries have taken their toll on a United side that previously won five straight League matches culminating with two crushing 5-0 triumphs before the unexpected back-to-back defeats in this latest nightmare five day spell.
The worry is Sir Alex Ferguson’s men do not have a strong enough squad to paper over the cracks, unless they dig deep and add re-inforcements in the transfer window which is now open.
In the meantime, it is up to United’s big names to earn their money. Wayne Rooney looked out of condition at Newcastle and not surprisingly was benched before the end. Nani is not at his best, and the same goes for most of United’s squad.
There is no doubt Rooney is one of the best players in the Premier League, and on his day Nani is as good as anyone. But reputations count for nothing when the whistle goes. Every success has to be earned and the players owe it to the fans to work harder to find the consistency expected of Manchester United.
Meantime, let’s give credit to Newcastle for their outstanding display of the season. Manager Alan Pardew summed up the night when he said: ”We won because we controlled the game in terms of what we wanted to do. We would not let them play. Physically and aerially we had an advantage and capitalised on that. We broke up their play so many times today. We beat the champions 3-0 and probably deserved that scoreline. We have had a great season so far without turning over one of the top teams. Today we had our best team out there and it showed.”
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Sir Alex Ferguson’s 25 years at Manchester United prove he is greatest football manager of all time – just ask Wayne Rooney
On the weekend that Sir Alex Ferguson celebrates his 25th year at Manchester United the world of football is rightly paying homage to the greatest manager who ever lived. And among the many tributes the words of Wayne Rooney sum up my feelings entirely.
The fans have also had their say, with Manchester United unveiling a giant banner paying tribute to Sir Alex’s 25th anniversary at Old Trafford. The banner, covering the entire length of the Stretford End stand, will have pride of place at Saturday’s home match with Sunderland – just 24 hours bfeore the boss completes his historic milestone.
The 72-metre long banner cost £3,600 to make and was funded by donations from United fans through the Stretford End Flags organisation. Supporters were offered two designs and asked to vote for their favourite.
The winning design is themed ‘The Impossible Dream…Made Possible’ and depicts Ferguson and the 37 major trophies he has won during his remarkable quarter of a century reign at United.
It continues a long tradition of celebratory banners unveiled at Old Trafford, including tributes to the victims of the 1958 Munich air disaster and heroes such as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Ryan Giggs and George Best.
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Lionel Messi may be the favourite to win the 2011 Ballon D’Or and claim the title of the best player in the world for a third successive year – but it is testament to the progress of Portugal’s Nani that the Manchester United star is included in FIFA’s shortlist of 23.
Nani joins team-mate Wayne Rooney and Manchester City’s new hero Sergio Aguero in a list dominated by the best of Barcelona who have no fewer than eight players nominated. Former United star Cristiano Ronaldo is also included.
But it is no surprise to me that Nani has been elevated to such heights after spending the past month working on an upcoming documentary for MUTV on the kid from Cape Verde.
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The list will be reduced down to three on Dec 5 with the winner being announced in Zurich on Jan 9.
Player nominees: Eric Abidal (France), Sergio Aguero (Argentina), Karim Benzema (France), Iker Casillas (Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Dani Alves (Brazil), Samuel Eto’o (Cameroon), Cesc Fabregas (Spain), Diego Forlan (Uruguay), Andres Iniesta (Spain), Lionel Messi (Argentina), Thomas Muller (Germany), Nani (Portugal), Neymar (Brazil), Mesut Ozil (Germany), Gerard Pique (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), Luis Suarez (Uruguay), David Villa (Spain), Xabi Alonso (Spain), Xavi (Spain).