Wayne Rooney: Street striker out of his element
Dan "The Betting Man" Fitch tells us about Wayne Rooney's reality TV show "Wayne Rooney's Street Striker", how the Man Utd striker fares as a TV presenter and which other Premiership stars could soon be on our screens, other than playing in a football match.
One of the perks of being a successful footballer are the lucrative endorsements and media deals that tend to come your way. It must be a massive temptation to just sign every contract pressed under your nose, as your eyes light up with pound signs. Perhaps though, it would be prudent to read the small print on these contracts. Because any company offering pound notes, are likely to want a pound of flesh in return.
This can result in the footballer finding themselves out of their comfort zone. An example of this is the new Sky1 show Wayne Rooney's Street Striker. As a television host, Wayne looks about as ill at ease as Alan Tishmarch would do if required to lead the line for Manchester United.
If you haven't seen Rooney's show, it's an X-Factor style search, to find Britain's best street striker. Rather disappointingly, the winner just gets a trip to a Brazilian soccer school, rather than something actually useful like a contract with a Premier League club. Most of the lads on here are in their late teens and are unlikely to ever make it in the professional game. Given the contestants' bleak career options, surely a more apt title would have been Wayne Rooney's Street Sweeper.
The show could easily be edited down to a 30 minute episode, but is instead painfully stretched out to a full hour. Presumably this is done so that Sky1 only have to show 12 repeats of The Simpsons that day, rather than 13.
In the first week the lads had to control a ball a ball thrown from the top of an 80ft tower block, before punting it into a skip. I'm not sure what the Brazilian soccer school would think of this, but it would certainly work as a training routine for Stoke City.
This week the contestants had to complete a street soccer obstacle course. This required them to dribble the ball between some scaffolding, which most struggled with. Considering how stationary most Premier League defenders can be, on this evidence most managers could do worse than to simply get some Polish blokes to erect a length of scaffold across the edge of the penalty box.
Six contestants went through to the final, or so they thought. Wayne (trying hard to be as dastardly as Simon Cowell, but instead just looking embarrassed) broke the news that the bottom two would have to compete in a head-tennis final. The nervous pair were lead down a Manchester back street, where a washing line heavy with the weight of Ena Sharples knickers, acted as a net. It was meant to be a tense spectacle, but only succeeded in making me think that in terms of head-tennis, Kevin Keegan and Tony Blair were actually quite good.
If you're wondering what Sir Alex would think of all this, if you turned up the volume really loudly, you could just about hear the sound of a thick Scottish accent, wafting over from the United training ground. I think it said something along the lines of, "That bloody Paul Stretford".
Wayne Rooney can currently be backed at [8.0] to be the top English scorer in the Premier League. This is a good bet, as long as he can forget his street soccer experience and remember to aim towards goal rather than a nearby skip.
It's also a fair bet also that others in the football fraternity will be keen to get on the reality TV bandwagon. Cristiano Ronaldo would surely get a perfect 10 in Strictly Come Diving, while Arsene Wenger could search for a new goalkeeper in How Do You Solve a Problem Like Almunia? Or how about The Ex-Factor, in which Ashley Cole has to sing for forgiveness before a tearful Cheryl Cole? The category this week: songs about hairdressers.
If the BBC Sports Personality of the Year can now have a phone vote, then why not have one to decide the PFA Player of Year award? The idea is no more stupid than the fact the award is given out in April, when the season ends in May.
Ronaldo is the current [2.62] favourite, with Lampard at [4.6] and Rooney at [9.8]. But if the public could have a say, we might have a different winner. Surely Emile Heskey's transformation from a byword for wasted potential, to mainstay of the England team, is the 'journey' that the people would go for?
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