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5 Takeaways from Amazon’s “Rooney” Documentary

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The soccer world has been taken by storm by the latest in a series of documentaries from Amazon Prime Video on the subject of the world’s most beloved sport. After standalone docs and series dedicated to Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and several other high profile clubs and figures from the world of soccer, perhaps the most intriguing of all dropped last month. The feature length documentary “Rooney” details the life and career of one of the greatest exports of English fotyval soccer , Wayne Rooney.

It’s easy to see why almost every journalist, podcaster or fan of the game has been talking so much about “Rooney”, it is a revelatory and gripping production – a warts and all look into the volatile, enigmatic and unforgettable talent who broke records left and right at club and international level, while experiencing almost constant drama and scandal off the pitch.

Here are five key takeaways from the documentary “Rooney”.

 

gettyRags to Riches

It’s long been common knowledge that Rooney came from humble beginnings but this documentary does a great job of showing in more detail the hardships of his council estate childhood while drawing out the colour in the lives and characters with whom he spent his formative years. Touching interviews and home movie footage of his family, friends and young girlfriend/now wife Coleen certainly make the man very easy to root for. He’s portrayed as someone who had to learn to fight for everything from a very early age, a trait which becomes somewhat problematic for him in later life.

Too Much, Too Young

Wayne Rooney shot into super-stardom as a teenager playing for Everton. Before he had even completed adolescence, he was snapped up by Manchester United and included in squads to represent England at major international tournaments. The documentary offers fascinating insights into how difficult it must have been for a young, shy boy to cope with a constant bombardment of camera lenses and tabloid press stories. The film certainly encourages the viewer to sympathise with a young Wayne Rooney, which is perhaps something they weren’t able to do at the time, in the hope that in hindsight they may see just how vulnerable a child he was when he first broke onto the international soccer scene.

Off Pitch Struggles

Derby

One particularly commendable element of the documentary was the way it didn’t shy away from his off-pitch misdemeanours. The film dives deep into his marital infidelities, his violent outbursts and other mistakes Rooney made away from the soccer pitch, the only place he really seemed comfortable during the early part of his career. One rather shocking moment sees Wayne and his wife Coleen speaking candidly to the film-makers about those infamous incidents Rooney had with escorts. The subjects of this documentary certainly deserve an immense amount of credit for the way they “fronted up” about the mistakes that have been made along the way and didn’t try to gloss over them.

The Prodigy

It would be difficult to make a movie about Wayne Rooney without discussing the talent. Talking-head interviews with the likes of former England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson, former team-mates Rio Ferdinand and Gary Neville, and all time great Thierry Henry provide the justifiable platform for gushing praise of the man who became arguably the most important Manchester United and England player of the modern era. Wonderful footage of Rooney on the pitch playing at World Cups and in the Champions League, accompanied by the outpouring of enthusiasm from his peers, sublimely capture just how good a player Wayne Rooney was – something which may be forgotten too soon in the very fickle world of soccer fandom.

The Will to Win

The film ends with Rooney’s current role as manager of Derby County, where he is doing a spectacular job. At several points in the documentary, whether while reminiscing about playing soccer as a youngster or making his kids cry by beating them at a board game, Rooney and the documentary-makers remind the audience of what a tenacious competitor he had been and remains. Rooney rather eloquently ends the film on the declaration that he will likely be in some way involved in the sport until the day he dies, with the fire still burning and the will to win never dissipating.

Wayne Rooney continues to develop as a young soccer coach at Derby County and soccer fans around the world will hope to see him succeed in his new career. A giant of English club and international soccer, despite his wrongdoings, Rooney will surely be remembered as one of the greatest pure talents to ever exist in the sport.

This documentary will go a long way to preserving that legacy and its a film which every soccer fan, no matter which club they support, will almost certainly thoroughly enjoy. The slick production value, the combination of various different elements including interviews, news footage and home movies, and the revelations, of which there are many, make this a must watch for practically any sports fan.