Jamie Carragher thinks Wayne Rooney is performing like "a 35-year-old player" due to his early introduction to Premier League life. The former Liverpool defender thinks Rooney's body is more akin to that of a player in his mid-30s, because he has been playing professionally for so long.
Rooney, now 30, made his debut for Everton when he was just 16. And while he has enjoyed a record-breaking career, Rooney has struggled to maintain his high standards this season, scoring just eight goals for Manchester United.
Carragher told Sky Sports: "People talk about age, it's miles on the clock and it's games played. He must have played nearly 600 games as a centre-forward, which is maybe not the same as playing in the position I did.
"I just think that battering from centre-backs and the pressure that is on him, mentally as well, to play from that age of 16, I think we are looking at a player who is getting to the stage of his career where I don't think he will be playing at the top level at 34-35.
"I just think he's been playing so long now that maybe it's 30 on his birth certificate but in terms of games played he's a 35-year-old player."
Reflecting on the United man's recent form, Carragher said: "I think for Rooney to answer his critics or show he is still the man to play centre forward for Manchester United he maybe needs a run of 10 games – scoring maybe seven or eight goals."