• Premier League

Rooney has passed his peak - Scholes

ESPN staff
May 22, 2014
Ryan Giggs was fit enough to keep playing

Paul Scholes says Wayne Rooney has already entered into decline and could retire in three years' time after being burnt out.

The former Manchester United midfielder played on until he was 38 but believes his long-time team-mate could be paying the price for a heavy workload and tactical indiscipline.

Rooney's £250,000-a-week contract at Old Trafford lasts until 2019 but Scholes feels the 28-year-old could quit playing before then.

Parting shot at United chief

Paul Scholes does not expect to return to United as a coach under Louis van Gaal © Getty Images
  • Paul Scholes may have been reticent to speak out as player but he has had no such inhibitions since he hung up his boots, criticising United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward as well as Wayne Rooney.
  • As he prepares to leave the club once more, Scholes claimed that Woodward has "a lot to prove". Click here to read more

"There's a chance he's worn out. Wayne's peak may have been a lot younger than what we'd expect of footballers traditionally," Scholes wrote in his Paddy Power blog.

"Age 28 or 29 has been the normal 'peak'. With Wayne, it could have been when he scored 27 league goals in 2011-2012, when he was 26.

"Wayne might be a player who'd retire come 31 or 32, given the amount of football he's played. Ryan Giggs has been on the go for ages, but he adjusted his position. Can Wayne do the same? I don't think Wayne will be able to play centre forward until he's 34 or 35."

Rooney, who will be 29 in October, has already played 517 times for his two clubs, Everton and United, and a further 89 for England, giving him a total of 606 career appearances.

However, Rooney has not scored for England at the last two World Cups. Scholes blames the way he has had to carry the hopes of a nation for his failure to find the net but suggested Roy Hodgson should not stand by him for too long in Brazil if he fails light up the World Cup stage.

"Maybe Wayne has felt the pressure of playing for England in the last two World Cups when he's not scored," Scholes said. "I know how difficult it can be.

"I'm not saying Wayne needs to be dropped but if form doesn't get up to scratch in the warm-ups, or in the first game of the World Cup, it'll be interesting to see if the England management team has the balls to make that decision.

"We have quality forwards in the squad this time. That should give Wayne the competition he needs to spur him on a little more."

Rooney is the third highest scorer in United's history with 212 goals and Scholes, who also worked him with as part of United's coaching staff for the final four games of the season, says he needs to do less defensive work to prolong his career.

"His best attributes are his energy, desire, a will to win which is unbelievable - but, above all, his goals. Wayne wants all the responsibility to score. He'll try to play left back, right back," Scholes said.

"Sometimes he does that too much instead of saving himself and his energy for what his teams need - [putting] the ball in the net. He needs to use his energy more effectively now as he's a player who likes to be up front on his own and I don't think he's great with partnerships."

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