Bryan Robson: Wayne Rooney won’t be appreciated until he leaves Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United captain believes that Wayne Rooney won’t be fully appreciated by supporters until he leaves Old Trafford.

The 31-year-old, following a tumultuous start to the season, has been phased out of the starting XI by Jose Mourinho in recent times, with his last Premier League start dating back to December.

Rooney made history just last month with last minute equaliser against Stoke City that cemented his status as Man United’s all-time top goalscorer.

And Robson believes that the Englishman will be only be fully appreciated by supporters once he finally decides to hang up his boots or look elsewhere for starting opportunities.

“To break the records that he has broken at international level and at Manchester United, you have to be a special talent,” he said.

“I don’t think people are putting him up there with the greats at United but that’s what happens when you’re still playing.

“He’s been in and out of the team but for me when he retires in years to come, people will call him a great player.

“He will get that status but when a player is still playing they don’t get the accolades that they should get.”

It goes without saying that the Rooney we all know now – the slowly but surely fading squad player – will differ from the Rooney we all remember as football fans. The 31-year-old, after all, continues to function as a part of this squad; he has to be judged with the same scope used to observe other players.

There is little time for praise; with Mourinho at the helm, everybody has to work towards perfection. And this, I guess, is why praise for Rooney – even when he broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s record – has been relatively insubstantial.

But when United fans look back on a career hallmarked by goalscoring records for both club and country, ten major honours and a name that reverberated across the football world for over a decade, they will, no doubt, tip their hats to a man responsible for providing some truly special memories during his time at United.

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