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Talk of Wayne Rooney's demise is greatly exaggerated

Wayne Rooney Volley

He may be injured, by Wayne Rooney dominates the headlines. He is even being written off in some quarters, but he still has plenty to offer Manchester United.

Here are a few facts about Wayne Rooney's goalscoring record over the last five seasons:

2011/12 - 35 goals in all competitions,  2010/11 - 19 goals in all competitions, 2009/10 - 34 goals in all competitions, 2008/09 - 31 goals in all competitions, 2007/08 - 20 goals in all competitions.

So it is very possible to argue that Wayne Rooney is in fact getting better and not the opposite.

Yet there is talk that Wayne Rooney's United days are numbered. Why?

The reasons for pundits and fans to jump to conclusions is simple, (a) the arrivals of Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa, and (b) a below par performance against Everton.

He was dropped to the bench and when he came on was sidelined with a freak injury which is expected to keep him out for 1-2 months. He can now use that time to come back focused and determined to reach his best form.

Looking at the first reason behind the recent Rooney backlash, it is based on a tactical dilemma which his manager faces.

The arrival of Shinji Kagawa gives United a different option, with many expecting the team to line up in a 4-4-1-1 formation or with a 4-2-3-1, as they played at home to Fulham, and it was expected that Rooney would be the central striker.

Now Robin van Persie has been signed, he looks set to take the lone striker's role, but Sir Alex Ferguson will have to find a way to fit both Rooney and van Persie into the same line-up eventually, it would be foolhardy not to combine the players who contributed a mind-boggling 57 league goals between them last season, that's more than Liverpool.

Against Everton he was disappointing, and deserved to be dropped for the next game, but pundits should know better than to write Rooney off after just one game. Especially when he scored a personal best 35 goals the season before.

Yes a number of them were penalties, but he led the line superbly with goals against Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal to name a few.

Rooney has come through challenges before and bounced back. He will look to do so this time too, and don't bet against it.

When he was involved in his contract battle he questioned United's ambition, and wanted assurances they would compete for the top stars in the transfer market.

While some may view Van Persie's arrival as 'Be careful what you wish for Wayne' - It should take some of the pressure off him and allow him more of a free role on the pitch to be devastating in scoring and creating goals.

Rooney will be back, and even if he misses the first two months of this season, don't rule out him scoring an important 25 goals for his club this year.

He may never please those who judge him on his performances for England, but for his club, you can't argue with his contribution in recent years. 139 goals in five years, and at the age of 26, three years younger than Van Persie, the club are not about to dispense with his services any time soon.

Will Rooney bounce back better than ever?

image: © nasmac

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