Wayne Rooney is probably sitting in a comfortable hotel room in France after a training session right now thinking. Thinking about his ankles and ailments. His team’s form and generally about his life. It’s hard work. A professional footballer since 15, doesn’t think deeply; he is likely thinking broadly. About his success with the national team, his family, his club career and his national perception. He then likely looks out the window at the well-manicured hotel lawn and distant hedge.
The extreme green reflects up and makes him think of a football pitch. Most things do. How has he, the most English of Englishmen, his country’s captain and highest all-time goalscorer, somehow become loathed by his people? That’s something that swings in and out of his brain a lot of the time now. He never has an answer, he just mentally flicks away from the question, diverting his attention with football and other things. Family. Mates. Wayne has no regrets, of course.
But he’s wondering if it’s fair. At age 15 he was considered the saviour. And at age 30, he’s considered a failure. He’s maligned; he’s ridiculed, in some circles despised. He has won trophies for his club but not for his country. He wonders whether a semi-final or better will make people like him more. He wonders if his past dalliances and his hair implants have had an impact. Perhaps not, but you never know. Who really cares? He likes his hair.
He thinks about Harry Kane and Jags and the boys. They’re looking great in training, great to see them up-close. He thinks this could be the year for England but he’s a bit worried about Russia. Those sorts of teams usually give us trouble and we’ll need to beat them in the group. Wales worries him too. Gareth Bale – if only he came to united. Wayne sighs and looks at the room service menu. Shouldn’t eat that rubbish. Wait until we’re in Majorca in July.
Wayne probably blinks a couple of times and puts the television on. The hum of French language washes over him and he looks at his phone. It’s probably a horse racing site. He won’t place a bet, he doesn’t think.
James Wright is an editor at New Albion.