Manchester United can escape it no more.
Wayne Rooney is a shadow of his former self and looks nowhere near the dynamic prospect he was a decade ago.
Nor is there any evidence of improvement on his recent slump in form.
Forget the distraction of his England record - which includes just one World Cup goal in three tournaments - this is a player failing to live up to expectation, his high wages, and no longer should he be an automatic starter in Louis van Gaal's side.
Against Manchester City in the derby on Sunday he was desperately poor, putting in his worst display of the season.
His lethargy and failure to make any sort of impact was visible to fans, but also backed up by statistics which underline just how bad he was.
|Match||Passing Accuracy||Shots On Target||Key Passes||Successful Final Third Passes||Mins Played|
|Wayne Rooney||Man Utd vs Newcastle||90%||2||2||10||90|
|Wayne Rooney||Southampton vs Man Utd||89%||0||0||14||90|
|Wayne Rooney||Man Utd vs Sunderland||87%||1||1||19||90|
|Wayne Rooney||Swansea vs Man Utd||84%||1||0||9||90|
|Wayne Rooney||Man Utd vs Tottenham||83%||0||2||14||90|
|Wayne Rooney||Arsenal vs Man Utd||80%||2||1||14||90|
|Wayne Rooney||Aston Villa vs Man Utd||78%||0||2||11||90|
|Wayne Rooney||Everton vs Man Utd||72%||2||2||8||90|
|Wayne Rooney||Man Utd vs Man City||55%||0||0||3||90|
Rooney's display at Old Trafford was his worst ranking display of the campaign in four key categories.
His pass completion rate was woeful. 55 per cent of his passes found teammates, not good enough for a player who previous managers have talked up as being able to also play in midfield.
Rooney had no shots on target, and did not create a single chance, while in the final third of the pitch he completed only three passes.
A performance like this could be forgiven if he popped up with a winner, but he never really looked like doing so.
The striker should not be undroppable just because he is captain, and manager Louis van Gaal must start sending a message to the 30-year-old that he needs to improve.