A Tale Of Two No. 10’s




Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

According to a column by former English cricketer Ed Smith, Wayne Rooney should learn from Sachin Tendulkar how to turn expectation into inspiration.

The two superstars who don the No. 10 jersey for their respective teams have had contrasting fortunes of late. While Sachin picked up yet another Man of the Series award in the Border-Gavaskar trophy against Australia, Rooney continued being left on the bench by Sir Alex Ferguson. While Sachin scored his 49th Test ton and let his performances on the pitch do the talking, Rooney did his talking to the media, publicly contradicting Sir Alex’s claims that he had an ankle injury.

Rooney, who would have been just 4 years and 21 days old on the day when Sachin made his Test debut, started his career at the age of 16 like the latter. A couple of seasons into their sport, both looked destined for legacy. While Sachin has gone on and achieved that legacy and made himself the greatest player that has ever wielded the willow, Rooney is only 6 years into his career. After a hi-profile transfer from Everton, he smashed a hat-trick in his first ever match in a Manchester United shirt in a 6-2 thumping of Fenerbache in a Champions League encounter. This immediately catapulted him to superstardom as he was showered with fame and glory and became a fan favourite within no time.

When Tendulkar scored an unbeaten 114 against England at Old Trafford in the summer of 1990, he became the second youngest Test centurion. On similar lines, Rooney became the youngest goal scorer for England when he found the back of the net against Macedonia. Although Sachin has enjoyed individual success on the world stage finishing as the leading run getter in the 96’ and 03’ World Cups, he hasn’t done enough to fetch India the Cup. Rooney, on the other hand was disappointing in the two World Cups he has been a part of; being sent off in 06’ and another pathetic show in 10’ as England crashed out in the second round.

Both the crowd pullers have seen their form rise and drip drastically over the course of their career. Tendulkar, after his 2003 World Cup run, finished the calendar year with a test average of 17.25 as there were calls for him to retire. Rooney, who meanwhile had his best season, scoring 34 goals in 2009-10, has managed to score only a single goal so far this season. While chronic back aches and a tennis elbow has taken its toll on Tendulkar, a recurring metatarsal injury almost kept Rooney out of the Euro 2004 and the 2006 FIFA World Cup.

But Rooney, unlike Tendulkar has gotten into one controversy too many. In 2005, he was sent off in a Champions League game against Villareal for sarcastically clapping the referee who had booked him for an unintentional foul. In 2006, he was banned for three matches for picking up a red card in a friendly against FC Porto after elbowing a defender and then was again sent off in the infamous quarterfinal against Portugal in the World Cup. Tendulkar’s only brush with controversy was the Mike Dennes incident where he was accused of ball tampering and handed a one match ban. But the ICC later revoked this ban after videos showed that he was only cleaning the ball.

21 years into his career, the Master Blaster is still going strong as he aims to finally script a World Cup victory at home next year. Rooney, on the other hand will look to leave all his troubles outside the field, rediscover his touch and get back to doing what he does best, scoring goals. If he wants to be anywhere as close a legend as the boy genius from India, he clearly needs to learn to turn expectation into inspiration!

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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