14 Oct 2016

Better than Lallana? Klopp insists 'fantastic' €29m outcast is a 'world class player'.

England outcast Wayne Rooney is under fire from all angles at the moment, but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp remains a fan of the Manchester United attacker.

When asked during his pre-match press conference today about Rooney, Klopp enthused:

"Rooney is a goal scorer and a threat. A situation like this [being dropped] can happen in a long career, but from my side, he's a world class player."

Ex-Red Jamie Redknapp is also convinced that Rooney can still do the business. In his column this week for the Daily Mail, he raved:

"People have been very quick to write him [Rooney] off. He’s been an amazing player and still has something to offer".

For me, it's a little concerning that Rooney is in such obvious decline at the relatively early age of 30. He should still be in his prime right now, and many players over the years have played some of their best football at that age (Gerrard, Ibrahimovic, Totti, Lampard, for example).

Why is Rooney struggling? He's never been the most lithe of players, and to my eyes, he's always looked a little overweight. He also lacks pace, but that doesn't explain the lack of consistent creative impact in the number-10 role (or slightly deeper). Players with genuine game intelligence rarely lose that quality (34-year old Zinedine Zidane at the 2006 World Cup, for example), but Rooney appears to have been found out.

Sod's law, though. Everyone expects Rooney to be benched against Liverpool, but he'll probably start the game, and put in an amazing, match-winning performance.

^ €29m-rated (CIES Football Observatory). Described as 'fantastic' by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.


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