Back in 2004, Wayne Rooney burst onto the international stage. His performances at Euro 2004 were exhilarating and there are many who believe that England would have won the tournament had he not got injured.
But Rooney did get injured, and since then in international competitions, he has been a failure. True, he is not the only one to blame for how poor England’s ‘Golden Generation’ has been, but the Manchester United forward has abysmally failed to fulfil his obligations on the international stage. Not that he has not tried, but one thing or another has stopped Rooney from hitting his best form for England.
And now there are talks that he is past his best and stepping into his shoes is a certain Ross Barkley. Many football followers have noticed the similarities between the two players, and outgoing Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard underlines them perfectly.
‘There’s a lot of similarities in there’, The Mirror quotes the 35-year-old as saying. ‘You see it in their build, where they come from and where they play. You can’t deny that. It’s that fearlessness of youth. I see the similarities. Great ability on the ball, taking out, running at people with the ball and that’s what you want to see’.
All good, but England fans should hope that Barkley does not turn out like Rooney for the Three Lions: injured before international tournaments or out of form.
Rooney, who has won the Premier League five times and the Champions League once with United, has always been the big hope for England, but he has failed to deliver the goods. Now Barkley is being branded as ‘the next big thing’ in English football.
The midfielder might well be and his breakthrough season at Everton in 2013-14 demonstrates that he has the potential and talent to take his career to a whole new level, but it would be a mistake to heap too much pressure on the 20-year-old, especially as this will be his first major international tournament.