Football News

Wayne Rooney: Scholes couldn’t have done what Gerrard did at Liverpool

By CJ Smith

Wayne Rooney: Scholes couldn't have done what Gerrard did at Liverpool

Published: 15:45, 28 May 2024 | Updated: 10:29, 30 May 2024

Wayne Rooney believes Steven Gerrard could have matched Paul Scholes’ achievements at Manchester United, but that the same couldn’t be said for the reverse scenario. 

The former England, Man Utd and Everton striker — who was recently announced as Plymouth Argyle’s new manager — made an appearance on Sky Bet’s The Overlap show, in which ex-teammate Gary Neville grilled him with 53 quickfire questions.

One of the most eye-catching moments from Neville’s interrogation was when he asked Rooney to weigh in on the Gerrard vs Scholes vs Frank Lampard debate that has long raged in English football. Despite highlighting the ‘world-class’ qualities of all three, Rooney seemed to favour fellow scouser Gerrard.

For a long time, Liverpool were seen almost as a one-man team, with Gerrard still able to lead the Reds to Champions League and FA Cup titles, as well as multiple Premier League title challenges, despite not quite being surrounded by the quality he perhaps deserved.

Rooney believes that if Scholes and Gerrard’s places had been switched, things would have ended much better for the latter.

“Stevie could come to Manchester United and be a top player and do what Scholes could do. But I don’t think Scholes could do what Stevie did at Liverpool,” Rooney told Neville.

On the differences between all three midfielders, who famously never quite clicked together as a trio for England, Rooney added: “Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are all different. As an all-rounder, Stevie is the best; he can defend, pass the ball, run, tackle, score goals, set pieces. As an all-rounder, he’s the best from that point of view.

“From a goalscoring point of view, Lamps [Frank Lampard] was the best. The goals he scored were incredible from midfield and technically he wasn’t at Stevie or Scholesy’s level but there was no-one better at scoring goals from midfield.

“Scholesy, the way he adapted [made him amazing]. He was a striker when he was younger so to go to a ten, then midfield then a deeper midfielder dictating the game, I don’t think either of the other two [Gerrard or Lampard] could dictate a game the way he could.

“All were world-class players.”

Despite his claim about Gerrard, Rooney still named Scholes alongside Cristiano Ronaldo as the best he ever played alongside, even though he shared the field with Gerrard for years at international level.

“I think obviously on ability, Ronaldo,” he responded when asked by Neville to name his best teammate. “But then Scholesy as well, what Scholesy brought to the team… but from an ability point of view you’d say Cristiano.”

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Rooney names ‘toughest’ opponent

During his playing days, Rooney came up against some of the world’s very best defenders, from Gerard Pique and Carlos Puyol at Barcelona to Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Nesta at AC Milan.

However, it’s a more familiar opponent the former striker picked when asked by Neville who his ‘toughest’ opponent was.

“I would say John Terry,” Rooney replied. “You used to always think you could do him for pace but he put himself in good positions and he was obviously physical, he was strong, good in the air. I think John Terry was the most difficult.”

Of course, Terry was asked only recently who his toughest-ever opponents were, with the former Chelsea centre-back — who won five league titles with the Blues — naming Rooney on his list.

“He was a top, top player and what he achieved was incredible,” Terry told the Daily Mail of Rooney. “I don’t know if it gets overlooked a little bit just how good Wayne was when he first broke into the England team. I remember playing against him in the Premier League and having him as a teammate in the England sessions. He was phenomenal.

No Messi? Rooney names the player he wishes he could have played alongside

We already know who Rooney’s greatest teammate was and have mentioned but a small percentage of the countless formidable opponents he faced. But who does the former England captain wish he’d been able to play alongside during his career?

Earlier in the interview, Rooney placed Lionel Messi above former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo among the greatest players of all time, but still had a different answer for Neville, who assumed the Messi was the one he’d loved to have lined up alongside more than anyone else.

“No, probably Zidane,” Rooney replied. “It’s just how good Zidane was. I think Messi is the best of all time, but to play with Zidane. Just how cool and calm [he was], [playing with] both feet, goals, assists, I think it’s Zidane.”

You’ll never walk alone? Rooney names the shock club he wishes he could have played for

From Goodison Park to Old Trafford, not to mention heading Stateside, Rooney was blessed with some unique opportunities during his playing career, playing in front of some vibrant crowds and unique cultures. But is there a club he wishes he could have turned out for before retiring?

Given his Everton roots and status as a Man Utd icon, it’s hard to imagine Rooney singing along to You’ll Never Walk Alone, but that didn’t stop the 38-year-old making a surprise pick.

When asked by Neville which club he ‘wished’ he’d played for during his career, Rooney replied: “Celtic I’d say.”

A shocked Neville responded: “Celtic? Wow. Celtic fans, you missed out there.”