In the wake of some largely disappointing England performances from Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes has sparked some controversy by suggesting that Rooney is past his peak. He comments:
'There's a chance he's worn out. Wayne's peak may have been a lot younger. With Wayne, it could have been when he scored 27 league goals in 2011-12 when he was 26.'
'I'm not saying Wayne needs to be dropped, but if his form doesn't get up to scratch in the warm-ups, or in the first game of the World Cup, it'll be interesting to see if the England management team has the balls to make that decision.'
Scholes' comments about the England management seem especially interesting. A criticism that can perhaps be held against Roy Hodgson and his coaching staff is that they seem unwilling to make any drastic changes. Dropping Rooney would certainly take "balls", but if his poor form continues it may be a decision worth deliberating.
This is not the first time Scholes has levelled criticism at a current England player. Whilst working for Sky in March, Scholes presented the opinion that:
'Jack Wilshere came on the scene and looked a top young player but he has never really gone on [...] He doesn't look any better now than when he was 17.'
To be fair to Scholes he looks to me to hold a refreshing honesty about problems with English football. Anybody watching Ecuador v England on Wednesday night will no doubt have noticed that Wilshere was pretty awful and seemingly more interested in rolling around on the floor than getting his head down and doing his job. Therefore, Scholes comments in this instance appear reasonably fair and perhaps represent a step in the right direction if England are to progress as a footballing nation. Rather than dress up Wilshere as the next *insert ex footballer who was half decent here*, we might be better served to accept that they're perhaps not as good as they first appear.
Following Scholes' latest comments, Wayne Rooney has perhaps unwisely seen fit to fire back. Rooney comments:
'He's been a team-mate but he's been away from the first team for a long time. I'm not interested. He's got his opinions so let's leave it at that.'
'I'm not really interested in what anyone else has got to say. I'm interested in what Roy Hodgson, the coaching staff here and the people around me say. People have their opinions but I don't agree with them.'
Although Rooney is entitled to fight back and give his own opinion, I'm unconvinced that it's the right course of action. Whether or not you agree with Scholes making his opinions public, I find it hard to disagree with what he's said. Rooney does look tired and hasn't performed well recently. Therefore, it seems logical to question his position for the first time in years.
Rooney might be better served to do his talking on the pitch.
Is Scholes right to voice his opinion in the build-up to the World Cup? Have your say in the poll below.