FM21 | Wayne Rooney: Keeping the biggest star fit

Everton, Manchester United, Everton, DC United, Derby County. And GAIS. The last club is not from a real-life CV of Wayne Rooney. It’s from my Football Manager 2021 save in Sweden. The former England national team player (120 caps/53 goals) signed for my GAIS team for one calendar year. I knew he will require some special treatment considering his age or physical attributes. If you are interested in how that one year/season went with him, feel free to read.

The first thing that some of you can think about it is that it’s not a common type of signing within my FM saves. And that’s right. I’m usually playing with young players and I usually avoid signing veterans. That word sounds too harsh for me and I won’t use it too often as it reminds me something different than just older footballers.

But same as the game is changing, my time for FM is changing too and my playing approach is different too. At least in terms of the club/player development. I won’t be able to play 10, 15 or more seasons. That means I will rather concentrate on the present than the far future.

FM21 | Wayne Rooney: Keeping the biggest star fit
Wayne Rooney after he signed for GAIS in October 2021

I will use the profile shared above as the base picture for several parts of this post. I mentioned his physical attributes already and we have to take them into account while considering Wayne’s position, role but also training regime.

Pros & Cons

You can find seven pros and four cons in the coach report. I will start with the cons as they are logical considering his age and physical abilities.

  • Agility – “Lack of agility results in an inability to react quickly to dynamic changes of direction.” – I read it as the more intensive pressing can lead to more ball loses for example. And it showed exactly like that in the latter part of the season when his passes completion ration decreased.
  • Unlikely to improve – no need to explain, it’s clear what it means and his progress went down during the year.
  • Athleticism – the combination of his strength and fitness level influences his performances in matches and training.
  • Peripheral – I had to find out what this exactly means. I didn’t consider it as important in combination with the fact he is also a leader. It goes against each other in my eyes.
FM21 | Wayne Rooney: Keeping the biggest star fit

Most of the pros are connected to the fact he is very respectable footballer. He is experienced with the international football, he is considered as a leader and he is enough ambitious.

Despite his injuries in the past, he still is brave enough and he is able to play in several positions. All nice things but we all know we won’t see him as our leading goalscorer and the most dangerous striker in the league.

The right role

The game suggests that the Deep Lying Playmaker with the support duty is his best-suited role in both CM and DM positions. But I’m not using DM position within the 3-5-2 formation so it was easy to choose.

  • AP(S) – ruled out due to Agility
  • Mezzala – ruled out due to Acceleration + Stamina
  • CM(S) & CM(A) – ruled out due to Acceleration + Stamina + Tackling
  • Box To Box midfielder – ruled out due to Acceleration + Pace + Stamina + Tackling
  • Ball Winning Midfielder – ruled out due to Agility + Pace + Stamina + Tackling
  • Carrilero – ruled out due to I’m not using that role
  • Roaming Playmaker – ruled out due to Acceleration + Agility + Pace + Stamina

The DLP(S) role was an easy decision in the end. Also in a combination with the Tries Killer Balls Often, Comes Deep To Get Ball and Tries Long Range Passes traits. The fact I’m using DLP(S) in my 3-5-2 formation was only a bonus.

Training & rest

Most of my players have demanding training schedules including postion/role/duty and additional focus training in combination with some trait learning. And also with the double intensity level.

Wayne Rooney is the exception. Because I wanted:

  1. to ensure he won’t spend the whole season with some injury
  2. play him as many times as possible
  3. there was no reason to give him a high demanding training regime while he won’t improve thanks to it
FM21 | Wayne Rooney: Keeping the biggest star fit

I went for a simple training approach. The DLP(S) as the position/role/duty training. And switching between corners and free kicks as the aditional focus.

The intensity level was set to half. The picture above is from the end of the season after Wayne played 5 full matches from the last 8.


Wayne had only four injuries during the 2022 calendar year. The first one ruled him out of action for 4 weeks with the sprained knee ligaments just at the start of the pre-season in January. It was his longest injury of all. The rest three injuries were for 11, 3 and 6 days.

I will be clear. When the first injury for four weeks ruled him out, I just thought “fuck, and that’s it”. But it was good. And I’m pretty happy with how it went and I now can thing that the light training regime helped to it.

FM21 | Wayne Rooney: Keeping the biggest star fit

Set pieces

I know there are many other footballers who are considered as set pieces specialists. But Wayne has/had great technique and perfect attributes for corners and free kicks. Yes, I dreamt about seeing a direct free kick during the season. Something similar as in the video below.

But it didn’t happen. Wayne scored two goals during his one and a bit season. Both were from the penalty kick. He didn’t convert two more penalties.

I set him as my main corner and free kick taker. Maybe the routines were not good enough or his teammates set for specific roles within routines were not good enough to convert his crosses. I’m not sure but one thing is clear – I expected much more from set pieces thanks to his perfect attributes for them.

Set Piece Takers custom view

I recently saw one his corner routine from a real-life as he is the Derby County manager. And his players scored against Middlesbrough.

I tried to replicate it but due to limited options in FM, I had to do some exceptions and compromises. My main squad didn’t score with this routine during the year, our youth squad scored twice or three times with it. But not particularly like in that video. I’m already looking forward to trying something new.

Rooney & GAIS

October 7, 2021

Wayne Rooney signed

The former English national team player signed a one-year contract with GAIS on October 7, 2021.

The 1st goal

It took him only 10 days before he made his debut in the GAIS shirt. As I wrote in the post about the 2nd season, there are no registration restrictions so I was able to play Rooney straight after his signing. He scored in our 1-0 win over Västeras SK and this win sealed us also the promotion to the top tier.

October 17, 2021
December 2021

The new captain

Some experienced players and previous captains left the club before the third season. Rooney was my first choice for the new captain despite he wasn’t with the club for too long. Also, his Leadership and Teamwork attributes (17 & 16) influenced it of course.

Sprained ankle ligaments

Injured himself during one of the first training sessions of the pre-season and he was out of action for 4 weeks and missed the main physical sessions to gain fitness before the new season but it didn’t affect him.

January 2022
February 27, 2022

Two assists against Helsingborgs

He leads the team in winning the Svenska Cupen group including two assists during a 2-0 win over Helsingborgs as he prepared both goals for Oscar Aga. It was his only two assists in the domestic cup but he helped us to reach the final when we lost to Djurgardnes.

The first player of the save with the rating of 10 (in a friendly)

If he would be considered as a player suited only for friendlies, he would be in the top 3 for sure. He scored once and made 9 assists in 11 appearances. He was the first player who got 10 rating in the match. Shame it was only a friendly against lower league side. But he scored once, made four assists and 13 key passes. It was great to watch.

June 2022
July 1, 2022

The decision

He informed me during June he wants to retire at the end of the season. I tried Reconsider Retirement option but he refused and he decided to retire.

Rooney = the new GAIS coach

I knew I will try it but I didn’t know when it will happen. I decided to offer Rooney the job offer at the beginning of September to keep him at the club within our staff. I wanted him as an assistant manager but he refused this staff role. Same as the role of U19 manager. He wanted to be a coach. So he will be our coach from the October and his retirement from playing career.

September 6, 2022
October 2022

14 from 15 possible

He was able to play 14 from possible 15 league matches during the second part of the season. He missed only the first one at home against IFK Göteborg due to suspension.

The end of fairytale

We needed to win in the last league match as you maybe know if you read the previous post about season three. Rooney led the team against Djurgardens, made the assist for the first goal and ended the match with a 7.9 rating. Most importantly, he was able to celebrate the league title trophy after the full-time whistle.

October 2022

Rooney played 2 Superettan matches and scored one goal.

He made 23(2) appearances from 30 possible in the Swedish top tier. Wayne scored once (missed two from three penalties) and made 7 assists. He was voted the man of the match twice and he ended the season with a 6.87 average rating.

Wayne is a leading player within Clear Cut Chances created with 15. But I really don’t know if that number and this stat overall are right due to all mistakes and bugs within stats and analysis in FM21.

Questions & answers

I asked some questions, mainly myself of course, after I signed Rooney in October 2021. I shared them within the season timeline in the post about the second season.

  • Will he ensure we will stay in the Allsvenskan? Yes. He helped to win the league title.
  • How many matches he will be able to play? 30(2) appearances in all competitions combined.
  • Will he make a lot of assists from set-pieces thanks to his perfect corners and free kicks attributes? No. Only one assist.
  • Will his signing boost the club finances or the match attendance? No. The average attendance increased but mainly because of the higher competition rather than signing Rooney.
FM21 | Wayne Rooney: Keeping the biggest star fit
  • What shirt number will he use? 10.
  • Will am I able to convince him to stay in the club as a coach? Yes.
FM21 | Wayne Rooney: Keeping the biggest star fit
Wayne Rooney as a coach

The selection of Wayne Rooney’s assists – the first one against Helsingborgs in the Svenska Cupen, the rest in the Allsvenskan.

Thanks for reading and take care…

Featured image source:


A Football Manager addict and lover for many years. You can follow me on Twitter or in Football Manager Slack – #fmrensie channel.

One Reply to “FM21 | Wayne Rooney: Keeping the biggest star fit”

Leave a Reply