Rooney on the wane?

British journalists have been waiting a dozen years to be able to use the above pun and there have recently been a number of comments on Rooney’s perceived decline

A recent column by Martin Samuel in in the Daily Mail quotes several random stats disputing this but then goes on to argue that
“Yet by all purely intuitive reckonings, something is not right.”

That may well be so, but let us look a bit more closely at the data. Here is a graph showing the creative contribution in terms of goals and assists that Rooney has made by EPL game

The first thing to note is how consistent he has been. Since he turned 20 he has pretty much averaged a point(goal+assist) per game each season and adapted to being either more of a provider – to the likes of Ronaldo or van Persie – or striker e.g 27 goals last year

This season, although his appearances are down, has been no different with 23 points in 23 games. And there is precious little suggestion from the figures that he was much better in the earlier going this year. He has snatched 10 goals in his past 13 appearances (in one of which he was subbed after 8 minutes), including only goals in two 1-0 victories. And this at a time when van Persie has struggled to find the net

So, although the argument fits the narrative that the aggressive character is burnt out after starting so young, I’m not buying it yet.
It seems to me this is to some extent journalists supporting the Man U party line, which is still irritated at being out-smarted by Rooney and his agent on his last contract and are looking to a lower pay-packet if his demands for a new one are true

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