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Column: Rooney on a Downward Spiral?

Sometimes the British tabloid press is a bit too predictable: after sub-par performances against Celtic in the Champions League last week and Arsenal over the weekend, the Independent's James Lawton asks the ridiculous question whether England and Manchester United sensation Wayne Rooney, who will be just 21 next month, has lost his appetite for the game. True, Rooney was not at his best during either game, a fact that certainly isn't lost on the Manchester United striker, but to question his commitment to his club and to the game after a few less-than-stellar performances is excessive, to say the least. Even Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson conceded he was a bit troubled by Rooney's lack of vitality in his last two outings, but to suggest that he's lost confidence in his main man after two games is ludicrous. "Could it really be that Rooney has fallen out of love with football, that too much has been expected too soon and that in the process something deep and fundamental in his make-up has been pushed off course?" asks Lawton, who then answers his own question by suggesting that "many will say this is alarmist drivel." Indeed, to get people talking, to sell papers, and attract advertisers. What follows is a standard account of a young soccer prodigy's transformation from fearless, wide-eyed wunderkid to pop-star celebrity. It's the David Beckham story all over again, but it's way too early in this kid's career to be making absolute judgments.

Read the whole story at The Independent »

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