It is fair to say that Wayne Rooney has faced a lot of criticism during his say-what-you-want-but-it-is-what-it-is-glittering career. However, that criticism has gone up a level or three in the recent past, with Rooney's every move, every pass, every step coming under scrutiny, and, usually, not in a positive light.
As immune to criticism a modern footballer, or indeed any sportsperson, needs to be, it cannot be easy to find yourself constantly disparaged after every performance, even if some of the criticism might be justified.
Rooney has stayed fairly silent on the constant examination this season, but the Manchester United captain finally broke his silence, letting all that frustration out on the club's TV channel MUTV.
"Yeah, I think I've had that my whole career – a little bit more of late, I think, but that's football," Rooney said. "I listen to my coaches and my teammates, the people around me, and I don't really listen to what a lot of people out there are saying because a lot of it is rubbish.
"I have to focus, work hard, of course, and I've done that throughout my career. I've worked hard and tried to do my best for the team."
The major question, though, remains if Rooney is the best option for Manchester United. His best playing position is still in question, and while Jose Mourinho, when he took over, insisted Rooney will never be a midfielder during his tenure with the club, the skipper was seen in a deeper position in a 4-3-3 formation against Watford, a match they ended up losing.
Rooney's versatility, or at least the perceived one, actually ends up working against him, because it leads to the England international wanting to do too much, always looking to be involved, when, sometimes, the best option would be to let the attack build up and position himself in the right position to finish off a move or just be in the right place at the right time to play the final, killer pass.
Going for the long, crossfield ball, by constantly dropping deeper than he should, might look good on TV, but that is not what Rooney should be about. "I've [played in different positions] throughout my career," Rooney added. "I feel I can play in all positions but I think the manager has made it clear either I'll play up front or in the No.10 and that's where he sees me playing.
"As I said before, it's not just myself – the whole team is going in and working hard. We had a bad week but we've been working hard to put that right."
Manchester United ended a three-match losing run with a 3-1 victory over Northampton Town in the EFL Cup third round and a reward for that result is a fourth round match against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City next month. United were soundly beaten by City in the derby earlier this month, but Rooney feels the cup fixture gives the club the perfect chance to make amends.
"For me, I think it's the perfect draw," Rooney continued. "With what happened in the league, it's a chance for us to get revenge for that result. It's going to be a great atmosphere.
"I think City will have 7,000-8,000 fans here, which will obviously make it an even better atmosphere. I think a cup game against City at Old Trafford is the perfect draw for us."