One major issue needs to be confronted before England take to the field later today for their decisive Group D encounter with Ukraine: When was the last time England picked a player with a haircut as daft as Rooney’s new barnet?
There can be plenty of post-hoc unkind assessments of players’ pelts from previous eras. But, at the time, the likes of Kevin Keegan’s perm, Tony Daley’s mop and Mark Hateley’s mullet were not considered outlandish at the time; merely avant-garde.
David Beckham, of course, has done his best to make heads turn and press photographers flash with his myriad coiffes. Though his worst/best (depending upon your point of view) effort is the shaved sides abomination, he can’t hold a candle to Rooney’s thinned-out mane.
Rooney’s haircut is eerily similar to that sported by Raul Meireles immediately prior to the Euros. Unfortunately, they’re both fairly limited in their options as they are similarly follicly-challenged up top. While Meireles has bowed to the inevitable and shaved his hair, Rooney ultimately opted for replacement surgery which, it would appear, has been less than completely successful.
The bigger sporting picture here is whether Rooney has made a breakthrough for footballers to follow cricketers such as Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Graham Gooch, Michael Vaughan, Jacques Kallis and Virender Sehwag in taking the surgical route to hirsuteness, where Gooch blazed a trail to eventual public acceptance of this solution. Rooney’s latest style would appear to seriously jeopardise any chance of this happening in the world of football.