Wayne Rooney may still be 28 years of age, but many football followers have suggested that the Manchester United forward is past his prime.
The England international burst onto the scene as a teenager over a decade ago and has been in the spotlight since.
Under tremendous pressure to succeed with both club and country, Rooney has been strongly criticised when he has gone through a rough patch.
One of the oft-repeated statements about him is that he is not the player he was when he first burst onto the scene. And Rooney believes that it is right.
‘It’s right, I am not’, the former Everton star told Sky Sports when posed the question. ‘To be honest, if I was the player when I was 16, then I wouldn’t happy because I was doing too much running when I was younger.
‘I ran out of energy when I was in the box to score goals, and now obviously I am clever enough to know when the time’s right to do so and when it’s not. I feel I have progressed in my game’.
Rooney has certainly matured as a player and has also become versatile. Now able to play upfront, just behind the strikers and even in midfield, the Englishman has certainly added more facets to his game.
How much Rooney means to England and United is reflected in the fact that he is the captain for both sides. If he were on the downhill, would Roy Hodgson and Louis van Gaal have given him so much responsibility?