An Englishman abroad? Rooney might not have fitted the bill

November 26, 2010

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/So Wayne Rooney says he would only have left Manchester United to go abroad. Could the fact that foreign suitors seemed shy to express any interest have anything to do with his sudden U-turn to stay at the Premier League club?

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho was right in his prediction that Rooney would stay after all. He told United to “give me call” if the striker’s departure was on the cards but never went further than that.

Given the impressive way the Portuguese has got Real playing this term (ignoring those ridiculous yellow cards), it was always diffcult to see how Rooney would have fitted in.

Sure, they only have Gonzalo Higuain and Karim Benzema for the main striker role but two players for each position used to be enough didn’t it? I’m also not convinced with Rooney upfront on his own, he likes to drop too deep at times as he has shown with England while last season with United he was never isolated in attack as he could have been elsewhere.

But apart from Real, why did no other non-English club step forward? Injury-riddled European champions Inter Milan are desperate for new firepower but president Massimo Moratti never contemplated Rooney.

Generally European sides have bad memories of signing English players. You can maybe count on one and a half hands the truly successful British footballers to have played abroad. John Charles, David Platt, Gary Lineker and I guess David Beckham but already I’m struggling.

There have been too many Ian Rushs and Luther Blissetts for European clubs, especially Italian, to swallow.

Rush’s apocryphal quote from his time at Juventus – “It was like living in a foreign country” still haunts an English player abroad.

Many Italians were stunned when Lazio’s Paul Gascoigne burped down a microphone while mention Ray Wilkins to an AC Milan fan and invariably they will reply with “Ah si, il granchio!” (oh yes, the crab!)but to be fair they are probably being affectionate.

Rooney may be certain it would not have worked at Manchester City but there were no guarantees a working class lad from Liverpool would have settled in the big wide world.

PHOTO: Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring a penalty kick during their Champions League soccer match against Rangers in Glasgow, Scotland November 24, 2010. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne


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

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Daily News World Cup, Reuters Soccer. Reuters Soccer said: An Englishman abroad? Rooney might not have fitted the bill […]

Posted by Tweets that mention An Englishman abroad? Rooney might not have fitted the bill | Analysis & Opinion | — | Report as abusive

More suggestions of successful Englishmen playing abroad…

How about Kevin Keegan at Hamburg? He even managed to win a Bundesliga title during his time there since he made the move from Liverpool. Hamburg has not won a domestic title since he left, curiously enough. He has always been considered as one of Hamburg’s best foreign signings.

And there’s Chris Waddle at Marseille. If I am not wrong in terms of what I once read, back in the late 90s, Marseille fans voted him to be the second-best player of all time at the club, only behind Jean-Pierre Papin.

Posted by dy158 | Report as abusive

Yes those are good calls dy158. I suppose we think of Spain and Italy when looking for english successes so it’s easier to overlook other leagues. I guess Gazza and Butcher and Stevens were successes at Rangers, but that doesnt really count…
But for every success there are probably two Des Walkers and Jermain Pennants

Posted by MarkMeadows | Report as abusive