Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Rooney, Down For the Count?

We here at a pretty move have been collectively screaming "Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!" (and boy, are we out of breath) since Wayne Rooney broke his foot on Saturday at Stamford Bridge. Sven-Goran Eriksson's desperate optimism aside, it seems terribly unlikely that Rooney will be fit to play at World Cup and as we are all England fans here, that's a huge disappointment. We were all looking forward to Rooney's unstoppable energy on the pitch in Germany. I've heard it said (and I agree) that what makes him such a remarkable player is his fearlessness and the fact that he doesn't seem to know when he's beaten. Alas, a broken metatarsal has done its worst.

Now the focus is on two questions: Can England win the World Cup without Rooney, and were the Nike boots he's been helping them develop, and which he wore in an actual game for the first time on Saturday, responsible for the injury? As to the first question--well, it's still possible, but boy did it just get a whole lot harder. I am much less confident about their performance this year. As to the boots--Nike denies it, and there's more coverage about that and issues of overwork and general safety of footwear here, here, and here. It does seem to be an overuse injury, and the boots may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. The ongoing debate as to whether players at that level are simply required to play too many games is also raised. (Unfortunately, in the US, all you have to do is sign with a USL team to find yourself periodically playing a punishing schedule, with games clustered together in part to accommodate distance.) On the other hand, it seems a bit disingenuous to suggest that the injury is wholly unrelated to footwear--and the overall trend seems to be toward favoring control over protection. At any rate, the boots' debut is now indelibly associated with the image of Rooney writhing in pain on the ground, never a good thing for PR departments.

1 comment:

Ghost Dog said...

That was a pretty nasty injury...saw it on the EPL review show. Ouch.