Rooney's Underappreciated Intelligence

Rooney's Underappreciated Intelligence

ALAN SHEARER, the former England football captain, doesn't think much of my theory.

I'm loitering outside an interview room half a mile from the grounds of Old Trafford, home of Manchester United, waiting to interview the team's mercurial striker, Wayne Rooney, about his singular football genius. My suspicion: Behind his prominent brow and famously thick skull resides an underappreciated mind.

Shearer, the legendary center-forward turned BBC commentator, has just completed his own sit-down with Rooney, and when I ask him to rank the 26-year-old in the pantheon of football greats, he is resolute. Rooney, he says, belongs in the same exalted category as Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo. "Wayne Rooney can do everything," says Shearer, 41, who scored 379 goals over his 19-year pro career. "If you ask him to play right back, he would be the best right back. Likewise center half. If he plays up front on his own, he can do that, no problem. Or he can play with a partner. He's now coming into his prime, which is a pretty scary prospect for all those defenders out there who think they got a chance of stopping him."

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