COLUMN: Appreciate Rooney while we still have him

Wayne Rooney.
Wayne Rooney.

Many have slated him in the past but it seems only now that Wayne Rooney’s accomplishments are being given the credit they deserve.

After scoring the second goal in England’s 2-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win over Switzerland, Rooney became the country’s top scorer of all time.

Of all the greats to pull on the Three Lions shirt, he has found the net the most times which is no mean feat considering he has surpassed the likes of Charlton, Lineker and Shearer.

Rooney has certainly been a divisive figure yet has managed to consistently find the net for both club and country over the past decade - his penalty on Tuesday was number 300 of a goal-laden career.

Yes he has his critics, mostly for his antics off the field.

However, you cannot deny he is the talisman for this England side.

An England side that has the potential of sides in the past but without any real expectation burdening it.

Now that he has the captain’s armband Rooney seems to have matured and you can genuinely see how much the record meant to him judging by his reaction and post-match interviews.

People are always going to compare him to peers such as Ronaldo or Messi but those two have never won the World Cup either and arguably they have been in teams that have generally been more succesful than England (Not hard, I know).

Rooney is 29 and probably has two, perhaps three, major tournaments left in him with England.

Rather than criticise and lambast, it is about time people gave him the respect that is due.

People don’t always appreciate what they’ve got until it’s gone.