The growing criticism of Wayne Rooney seems unending.
Overweight. Lost his pace. Injury prone. A liability. Overrated. Not the same player. A disgrace. Not fit to be England Captain.
Constant and illogical criticism aimed at a professional admired by his peers throughout the game.
Lionel Messi recently said he regarded Rooney as a great player, one who he would like to play alongside. Brazilian legend Ronaldo, twice a winner of the World Cup has said of Rooney, “I think he’s a fantastic player who scored wonderful goals for both the England team and Manchester United. So I think he’s one of the best strikers in the world.”
Carlo Ancelotti has admitted that, given the choice, he would take Rooney over Lionel Messi, adding that Rooney, “…puts his talent out to the rest of the team…this explains the difference between players and outstanding players.”
High praise indeed from people whose opinion demand respect. They know a good player when they see one.
In short, he is quality.
Something which most football fans and observers in England seem to have trouble in coming to terms with as the accusations listed above are amongst many that have recently been aimed at him.
Criticism which beggars belief.
Listen. This is a man who has scored a total of 174 goals in 375 Premier League appearances, one set to beat both the Manchester United and England goal scoring records and, quite probably, within the next eighteen months.
None of us take criticism easily. Wayne Rooney will be no different. Despite all the praise, the goals, the awards and the acclaim, he will have noted it. And it will hurt.
Yet criticism, however ill informed, can be a good thing. And Wayne, as can we all, can use it to his advantage, no matter what business we are in.
If I was working with a group of people or organisation and advising them how to deal with criticism, I’d focus on two key words.
Firstly, to see criticism as a form of communication, a chance to learn more about the critic, what they’re expecting and what you need to do to turn them from a critic to a supporter. In business, working with someone who is patient and able to receive and act on criticism means both parties can work towards a better outcome. So be that person and reap the rewards.
Secondly, come to see it as an opportunity. Having the right attitude means you can regard criticism as an opportunity to discover what a person or organisation really wants. By learning what people don’t need, we get closer to knowing what they do need.
And that gives us a considerable commercial advantage over the opposition.
Wayne Rooney has recently admitted he ‘thrives’ on criticism; that it makes him even more determined to succeed. And, whilst few of us will ever be able to play football as well as he can, we can all share his attitude to criticism and use it to further fuel our own ambitions.