Rooney’s relentless workload must worry Capello

January 18, 2010

QATAR/Fabio Capello hates the concept of “one-man teams” but the England manager faces an anxious few months watching Wayne Rooney shoulder a punishing workload at Manchester United.

The striker is far and away United’s most important player this season as he takes up the slack left by Cristiano Ronaldo’s summer move to Real Madrid and his value to his club is matched by that to his country.

Quite simply, United would have no hope of keeping the Premier League title out of Chelsea’s hands without Rooney and England have little chance of winning the World Cup unless he is firing on all cylinders.

Rooney has been sensational for United this season, scoring 15 Premier League goals already, but with precious little margin for error in the scrap for the title manager Alex Ferguson dare not rest him because one more defeat in the league could prove terminal for a side that has stuttered this season.

Barring injury, it is more than likely Rooney will play in United’s remaining 16 league matches and will also be key to their Champions League hopes.

Ferguson is also unlikely to rest him for this week’s League Cup semi-final against Manchester City, although he might be spared from the final should United prevail over two legs.

All Capello can really do is hope that Rooney avoids serious injury and does not burn out in the hectic months ahead. He may even be secretly hoping that United’s Champions League campaign is cut short by AC Milan.

England have never had a problem replacing central defenders, workhorse midfielders and target men. All-round players like Rooney are a rarity in the English game, however, and Capello has no back-up option as far he is concerned.

For that reason alone, England’s odds for winning the World Cup are ludicrously short. They are second favourites behind Spain who seemingly have two or three world class players in every position on the field.

Cesc Fabregas is the best midfielder in England this year by a country mile, yet Spain also have Andres Iniesta and Xavi and Xabi Alonso playing at a similarly high level. Brazil, too, boast far more depth in terms of creative attacking players, as do Argentina.

Capello knows Rooney is is his trump card and the Italian can be excused for watching every United game from here until May with his hands in front of his eyes.

PHOTO: Wayne Rooney throws a cone during a practice session at Al-Sadd club in Doha January 14, 2010. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see

[…] more: Reuters Soccer Blog » Blog Archive » Rooney's relentless workload … Share and […]

Posted by Reuters Soccer Blog » Blog Archive » Rooney's relentless workload … | Sport Weblog | Report as abusive

It’s certainly going to take its toll – Fergie is relying almost solely on Rooney to keep United’s season alive, and come up with the vast majority of goals on his own (not just scoring, but creating the chances and working hard off the ball too). It’s fairly typical he picks up an injury before a major tournament, so I’m laying England now, although many won’t get the chance!

Posted by T_ommy | Report as abusive

rooney or not england aint winnin the world cup. we simply aint good enough. we will get dominated in position. we re gonna be hard to beat like all the rest of the times but we ll get beat. our passing fluency is not very good. long balls will start comin in. defence is good but at times lack concentration.

Posted by moshahid | Report as abusive