A great young player, yes, but I don’t think he was the young player of the past year.
He deserves credit for the way he has settled in at United after moving from Everton a few weeks into the season.
Of course, there was his debut hat-trick against Fenerbahce, the wonder goals against Middlesbrough and another against Newcastle yesterday. I seem to remember him winning a home game against Portsmouth and having a pretty big contribution at the City of Manchester Stadium too.
But besides that, what has he done? He’s somehow managed to reach 10 league goals but he has not been prolific - his goal yesterday was his first for 2 months.
Although he did alright for England against Northern Ireland (let’s not mention Spain), he’s not scored in 6 internationals since Euro 2004.
You can’t even say he’s played a part in any club success either. United have been way off Chelsea for some time, and Rooney couldn’t manage another goal in United’s short-lived Champions League campaign. He did alright in the FA Cup semi against Newcastle but has not scored in the Cup since that pair against Boro in the 4th Round.
I’m sure you’ll be surprised to hear that I think the dramatic development of Shaun Wright-Phillips over the past year was much more deserving of the award.
He marked his England debut in August with a thrilling strike, which was just one of many screamers this season as he has notched 10 goals from midfield for City.
Without him upto the turn of the year, City would surely have been languishing in the relegation zone, but his performances gave City something to be positive about. He gave the team the confidence to continue playing well through his recent absence through injury, and almost single-handedly led us to the top half, and that is just as much of an achievement as lifting a trophy.
Having said that, my vote would have gone to Arjen Robben.
There have been many stars in the Chelsea team this season, namely Player of the Year winner John Terry, but they have been at their most exciting with Robben in the team.
This was his first season in the Premiership but he has made a fool of many a Premiership defender with his control, skill and pace. He was out injured until late October but when he finally made the Chelsea team he gave them the impetus to go on and achieve the success they are currently enjoying.
Both he and SWP are special players and have played a special role this season.
Rooney, of course, is a special player too, but this season has served only to entertain the Old Trafford day-trippers and to flog a bit more merchandise.