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Leadership / Football

What an Entrepreneur can Learn from Wayne Rooney

119 appearances, 53 goals and one player. How start-up founders can be the man Rooney was for his team
What an Entrepreneur can Learn from Wayne Rooney
Image credit: Twitter: Wayne Rooney
- Entrepreneur Staff
Senior Correspondent, Entrepreneur India
4 min read

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On Thursday afternoon, football fans around the world received the inevitable news — their legend Wayne Rooney officially retired from playing international football with England. Known as one of the greatest players of all times, the forward striker has had 119 appearances and holds the record of being England’s highest goal-scorer with 53 goals.

Rooney’s legendary career with England may have come to a stop, but the ex-Manchester United player will continue his tryst with Everton. Over the 14 glorious years of his professional career, Rooney has been termed a legend,  who even though failed to lead his team to glory, but his  contributions cannot be forgotten.

From the goals and misses of Rooney’s career, Entrepreneur India finds out what a start-up founder can learn from the legend.

The Big Splash: Livin’ It Up

Rooney’s debut in 2003 against Australia rendered him England’s youngest player. But it was display of goals at the iconic Stadium of Light that brought him international attention. From then on, there was no turning back for Rooney. As the media attention around him heightened, he continued to perform relentlessly regardless of the final win by his team. For an entrepreneur, it’s important to stay relevant and alive amid media attention. If a start-up’s launch gets worldwide attention and then each of its moves are closely watched, it’s important to not get overwhelmed and still continue to perform and achieve their goals.

Handling the Pressure

Wayne Roooney was a part of the golden era of football. He belonged to the star group which consisted of players like David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and more. And with Rooney being touted to be one of the greatest amongst them too, the expectations were always getting higher. Even in 2004, when he broke his foot during a quarter final of the Euro Cup, fans stated that if Rooney had managed to be in the team, there was nothing stopping England. With such pressure and expectations, Rooney was known to never get high-headed. An entrepreneur too at the peak of his success, regardless of ups and downs needs to keep a level headed approach.

Always a Team Player

He donned many hats, captain, forward striker etc. for both Manchester United and England and subsequently even on his return to Everton, but what pulled fans to Rooney was the fact that he was always a team player. He is known for his commitment towards his country and his team, with often people saying that without him England wouldn’t be half of what it is. Reports even suggest that it was his team spirit that stopped him from gaining the status Ronaldo did. His teammates have always spoken highly of him. David Beckham has been quoted saying, “There are certain players you play with throughout your career that you like playing with for different reasons. Wayne hits all those reasons. You knew he would run through a brick for you, for himself, for the team, for the fans. That’s the type of player you want playing for England.” For a founder too, it is always important to stay rooted and be a team player.

The Greats Too have Some Regrets

Even with all of his glories, Wayne Rooney is said to have led a team that always failed to win. He has missed out on major tournaments and even with him, England has failed to bring a cup home (except for the 1966 World Cup). With Rooney’s debut the hopes were high again but luck never worked and a cup was not on the cards. However, it is Rooney’s tweet while he hung his boots for England that one needs to remember, “Dreams can come true and playing for @England has been exactly that.”

Wayne Rooney played for his dream and played for it with such zeal and enthusiasm that even on his retirement from England, fans had only one thing to say – take a bow, legend and well played, Wazza.  

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