Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rooney Still Thinks United Should Build Their Team around Him but He's the Only Person Who Can't See That's a Rubbish Idea

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rooney Still Thinks United Should Build Their Team around Him but He's the Only Person Who Can't See That's a Rubbish Idea

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones

WHERE I live in Battersea, there used to be a very cheerful street sweeper. I say 'used to' because I haven't seen him for a while. But that's not the point. The point is that this street sweeper always seemed to be in a good mood.

Every day you'd see him, trundling around with his cart, sweeping up dog eggs and crumpled Coke cans, scratching dirty wads of used chewing gum off the pavement and piling fag ends into plastic bin bags.

He was always good for a chat and, if you got him going, he'd tell you all about his family and his kids, of which he had several, all living in a house somewhere down Streatham way, I think. A happy man. I have been thinking about him every time I read a newspaper story about Wayne Rooney. According to the Office of National Statistics, the average street sweeper in Britain earned [pounds sterling]17,727 last year. Rooney, hoofing a ball around for Manchester United, earns about [pounds sterling]35,000 a day. In other words, it would take my litter-picker a month to earn what Rooney earns in an hour. And yet one goes about whistling, while the other sulks. Go figure.

Now, of course, what I am presenting here is a false argument, even if it is a tempting one. You don't need to be Charles Dickens to work out that they don't sell happiness in the shops. There are, I am sure, as many miserable millionaires as there are beaming paupers in this world. It's like Biggie said: mo' money, mo' problems.

All the same, it is impossible to read a word about Wayne Rooney v Manchester United without feeling that Rooney is behaving in a grotesque and quite childish fashion.

It's not about his simple, gross income. It's more to do with the dazzling solipsism on display. Rooney seems honestly to believe that he is the best player Manchester United possess and that they somehow don't or won't see it.

He seems to think that the club ought to build their team around him and him alone: a player with obvious fitness issues, a history of injuries and a terrible attitude.

It is true that he has scored many, many goals in the past and also that he used to be a hungry player, capable of winning matches on his own. …

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