You won’t be surprised to learn that Everton weren’t given a particularly good write-up in Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport on Friday morning.
David Unsworth’s Toffees came unstuck in spectacular style at Goodison Park in a Europa League ‘dead rubber’ against 12th placed Serie A side Atalanta. A 5-1 home thumping means Everton have suffered the biggest home defeat of any English side in the history of the competition.
And while an Everton defence that has looked about as sturdy as a chocolate tea pot this season was justifiably ripped apart by the Italian paper, after Atalanta did the same on Merseyside, the most interesting comments were reserved for one Wayne Rooney.
Rooney has looked a shadow of his formerly dynamic, aggressive and swaggering self in recent times and an entirely ineffective performance against a youthful, energetic Italian side just highlighted how far he has fallen in such a short space of time.
Gazzetta dello Sport (24th November, page 7) hand Rooney a rather generous match rating of 4/10 and state, with some justification, that it is ‘sad to see him in this condition’.
On paper, Rooney looks like one of the few bright sparks in an otherwise terrible season for Everton, the 32-year-old netting five times since returning to his first club from Manchester United.
But this Rooney looks slower than ever, unable to influence games and hampered with the touch of a woozy Sunday league part-timer. But it’s not just us in England who are mourning the days of Rooney at his tip-top best.