Former Manchester United striker Teddy Sheringham had implored Wayne Rooney to rediscover his ‘horrible and nasty side’ to get back to his best for club and country.
It hasn’t been the best few years for Rooney, who has suffered a footballing identity crisis and has fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford and within the England squad.
The United captain, who is close to breaking the club’s all-time appearance record, was benched for the THIRD consecutive game for Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Stoke City, as he continues to struggle to find his place in Jose Mourinho’s side.
Even fans admit that the Red Devils have better options than Rooney in both attack and midfield, and Sheringham believes he is a totally different player without the ‘bite and spark’ which epitomised his early career.
“I’ve been saying for a long time now that Wayne Rooney doesn’t have the bite and spark he had about five years ago,” the three-time Premier League winner told the Weekend Sports Breakfast.
“Without that horrible nastiness, he’s half the player.
“He has got to ask himself some serious questions. What is it that makes him a great player? For me that is it.
“If he can get that back, if he can start performing on the edge again, which made him who he was, then I think you’ve still got a player there…but I haven’t seen that for the last 18 months to two years.
“That edge was the difference between Wayne Rooney being a good player and an exceptional player, and I think he needs to get that back to get back into the Manchester United team.
“You ask centre-halves who have played against him six or seven years ago and are playing against him now – it’s a different footballer.
“The Wayne Rooney of six or seven years ago was a horrible, nasty man who you didn’t want to play against.
“That’s not the case at the moment.”