/On Soccer: Rooney Returns to Everton as a Champion but Not a Conqueror

On Soccer: Rooney Returns to Everton as a Champion but Not a Conqueror

And yet, Everton’s willingness to commit millions to restoring him to the fold has been characterized, at best, as a decision made with the heart rather than the head. At worst, it is seen as an expensive indulgence, a costly misstep, where Rooney’s presence is to Everton’s detriment and his absence to Manchester United’s considerable benefit. In part, of course, that is soccer, and sports generally: unforgiving, relentless, pathologically averse to sentimentality. The past does not provide credit for the future.

Photo

Rooney in 2004 when he was a teenager for Everton, the team he is returning to.

Credit
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Rooney has faded, of course, and fast; there is a reason José Mourinho spent much of last year slowly easing him out of his team. Time has taken its toll on Rooney more quickly, more cruelly than it has or will on others. His rapid descent was foreseen; he always had the look, the body, of a player who would burn brilliantly but briefly.

His greatness lay in his power, his dynamism, his explosiveness; over these last two, three, four…

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