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David Sadler column

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28 Sep 2010 10:51:07

David Sadler column

George Best always used to view the 90 minutes on the pitch for Manchester United as his release valve. I only hope Wayne Rooney can rediscover that same mindset. Bestie had to endure the media spotlight, the off-field pressures and being constantly in the public eye for whatever reasons. But when he pulled on his United shirt it was a relief for him. At that moment he was in an arena that he had control of. It was respite from everything else that was going on. All footballers or any sportsmen with outstanding talent find themselves under fierce scrutiny. Generally those kind of people were able to shelve all that outside pressure and indulge themselves on the field. George revelled in it when he had those 90 minutes on the pitch. There are comparisons to what Rooney is going through because there is so much attention on him. Of course, some of it appears to have been brought upon by himself with all the newspaper allegations of recent weeks. I read Kevin Keegan's comments and I have to say in part he was right. If you take all the good stuff that comes along with being a high profile modern footballer   enormous amounts of money then you have to be big enough to take the other stuff as well. I have always thought Wayne has handled everything in the past superbly once he got onto the football field. From a very young age he has had to deal with intense pressure. He has answered tough moments once he played in the same way George Best used to do. Last season Rooney responded to some enormous pressure with his best goal return. There was an onus on him to pick up the mantle once Ronaldo left for Real Madrid. It was a big ask but he was excellent. So it is in his nature to be able to take the burden on his shoulders and not let it bother him. Invariably his retort is a very positive one. But there is no doubt this season that something is affecting him. It all leads to this little niggle I have in the back of my mind that there is an injury problem that could be the source of it. Up to his ankle injury against Bayern Munich last March he was unbelievable. But he wasn't right at the World Cup and hasn't been this season either. I just wonder if there is a connection. If there isn't then he has to draw on the kind of inspiration he got from Ronaldo's exit and get back to the influential player we know he can be. What do you think? Have your say.


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