He may be the top goal scorer in the history of both Manchester United and England, but should Wayne Rooney have scored more goals in his career? According to the man himself, yes.
Since debuting for in 2002, Rooney has scored 310 goals for various clubs and 53 for country but in his Sunday Times column he stated: "I played for United for 13 years, England for 15 years. I had time to break those records - and looking back I should have scored more."
If anyone needed reminding, Rooney burst onto the scene as a teenager at Everton showing form for both club and country, notably shining at Euro 2004, that persuaded Manchester United into spending £25.6 million on the then 18-year-old.
After netting a hat-trick on debut, he never looked back at Old Trafford, enjoying a trophy-laden 13 years at the club, where he, as aforementioned, became their record goalscorer with 253 goals.
His goalscoring record for both Everton and Manchester United sees him sit second in the all-time Premier League top scorers, behind just Alan Shearer.
If Rooney believes that he could have done better than that haul and scored more throughout his career, how does he rate against other leading strikers in the history of the Premier League?
Looking at the 28 players that have scored 100 or more goals in the Premier League, Rooney’s goal to game ratio sits at just under a goal every two games (0.42 goals per game).
He ranks just 11th out of 28 in goal scoring ratio though, with Sergio Aguero (0.69), Thierry Henry and Harry Kane (0.68) comfortably at the top of the list.
In terms of the Premier League Golden Boot, Rooney has never won the award. When you consider his record and the fact that eight players have won multiple Golden Boots (Shearer, Michael Owen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Henry, Didier Drogba, Robin Van Persie, Harry Kane and Mo Salah), it’s amazing to think that he hasn’t had one season where he’s lead the goal-scoring lists.
His best seasons in terms of scoring were 2009-10 and 2011-12 when he scored 34 goals in all competitions, and although this brought multiple team trophies his way a Golden Boot was never in his grasp.
However, is it fair for Rooney to be compared to the other strikers on that list though? He may be one of the highest scorers in the Premier League era, but he played much of his career as a natural number ten.
All the players above him on the list of goals per game in the Premier League are all out and out strikers, natural number nines and poachers that you expect to be banging in the goals for your team.
If you also look at the players, he played with at Manchester United; Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Louis Saha, Dimitar Berbatov, Robin Van Persie, they are again typical number nines and Rooney would have been playing in and around them rather than leading the line.
Even with England, he fit a similar role, playing alongside players like Michael Owen and Harry Kane.
This role has made his transition into a midfielder in the backend of his career a lot simpler, were out and out goal scorers tend to burn out quicker and retire earlier, due to their more one-dimensional style of play.
Even though he may be the top scorer for England and one of the biggest clubs in the world, Rooney is a lot more than just goals. For me, he will always be known for sensational moments and his team achievements rather than goalscoring record.
If you look back at Rooney’s career, it’s a timeline of champagne moments.
Even in his early Everton days, his first Premier League goal, a dipping shot past Arsenal’s David Seaman will always live long in the memory.
He gave England real hope of winning a major tournament at Euro 2004, with four goals that saw him named in the team of the tournament before injury curtailed his and England’s chances of silverware.
Then, where do you start with his time with Manchester United? He won the Match of the Day Goal of the Season award three times with the club, with THAT goal against Manchester City winning the Premier League 20 Seasons Awards Best Goal award.
He won an incredible sixteen trophies in his time at Old Trafford, including five Premier League titles, the Champions League and the Europa League.
During that time, he also picked up Manchester United’s Player of the Season twice and was a quadruple winner of England’s Player of the Year. Add to this that he’s also won PFA Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year (twice) and was named Premier League Player of the Month five times, a record only bettered by Harry Kane and Steven Gerrard.
For me, Rooney shouldn’t be looking back on his career with regret that he didn’t score more goals. He filled the fans of both his clubs and country with excitement and joy at seeing his undoubted passion and aggressive style of play that culminated into those numerous incredible moments mentioned above.
He should also look at that list of trophies he’s won in his club career and he should have no doubts with his club career.
Saying that, the only issue Rooney could and perhaps should have on his career is not winning anything with the golden generation of English football. He’s not the only one that sits in that boat though!
Written exclusively for golear.co.uk