A masterclass it wasn’t, but credit must go to Wayne Rooney for his England shift against Switzerland on Tuesday night.
Looking like he’d taken style tips off of Phil Mitchell, the Manchester United striker emerged looking like a no-nonsense bruiser with his shaven head in Basel. Rooney looked tough and ready for business, and his steely attitude and confidence allowed England’s prodigal son to brush off the sex scandals with a goal-scoring performance.
That Rooney scored was the major relief. Even before the News of the World caught him with his pants down with a hooker, it had been over a year since Wazza had hit the back of the net for the Three Lions. (Somehow his goal against the Platinum Stars earlier this summer always gets forgotten in that context.) Rooney needed to find his goal-scoring touch again, and he took his opportunity in the 10th minute when he connected with Johnson’s right wing cross.
Until that point Rooney’s early touches had been less than convincing. And if truth be told, it took Rooney some time after to find his passing range in the contest too. Eventually, though, England’s number 10 began to sparkle with the ball at his feet and he teed up Jermain Defoe twice before the break in two good goalscoring opportunities.
After the break Rooney continued to look sharp. Dropping deep to dictate the play, his touch and vision appeared to get better and better until he was eventually hauled off for Shaun Wright Phillips in the 78th minute.
Wayne Rooney’s showreel against Switzerland can be seen here.
As a bonus, footage of Manchester United’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez’s performance for Mexico against Ecuador from last weekend can be seen here.