London: The British media has lavished praise on iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar and according to a column written by former England cricketer Ed Smith, Manchester United star Wayne Rooney should learn how to turn expectations into inspiration.
In an article headlined `Sanctuary of crease lets Tendulkar reveal genius,` Smith had written, "Twice last week, sportsmen have proved me spectacularly wrong. First, Sachin Tendulkar reached 14,000 Test-match runs. And that`s not the amazing part.
"It took him fewer innings to get from 13,000 to 14,000 than any other 1,000-run chunk of his career. A case could be made that he is at his best now, at 37," the newspaper noted.
The article said Tendulkar and Rooney were destined for rare greatness, even from teenage. Tendulkar has gone on and done it.
A year ago, Rooney looked placed to do the same. But now, as never before, there are real doubts that he will become the player we once assumed he would be.
"Make no mistake, Tendulkar`s career has not been as serene as it might look, there have been arguments with coaches and match referees, an unsatisfactory spell as captain and long phases when the muse has deserted him.
"Tendulkar has had countless moments when frustration could have overwhelmed him. He has never blown his top, never lost his dignity. Instead,frustration has inpired him."
"Above all, his career has been played out under the shadow of phenomenal expectation. Footballers in England have to deal with being heroes. In India it is even worse: they are meant to be Gods."
"According to the report `Tendulkar has come to the conclusion that there is one place where he is free from the hassles of fame. There is one realm where he cannot be pestered. It is called the crease.
"With the bat in his hands, Tendulkar is the conductor of his own life, not just a participant in a soap opera. There, out in the middle, no one can stop him being himself - not a restless media, not overly demanding fans, not intering coaches or greedy agents."
"It is the ultimate irony: the greatest actors are never freer than when they`re on the stage. That is the way for Rooney to find the way out of his present difficulties – he must have the bravery to express himself on the pitch, to make it his sanctuary."
"If he allows himself to become embittered and resentful, he will not only become estranged from his fans, but also from his talent. No wonder the ball is bouncing off him at the moment; he probably would like to repel the whole game.
"Instead, he must learn to love it again. Shamed by alleged events off the pitch and embarrassed by events on it, Rooney could be forgiven for feeling sorry for himself," the report said.
"It would be a normal thing to feel. But he doesn`t aspire to normality, but to greatness. And greatness, as Tendulkar has showed demands a superhuman degree of resilience and emotional dexterity. Rooney must locate his inner Tendulkar, a genius who got even with his critics by scoring hundreds."
"For Rooney, in every sense, it`s time to turn the pressure into goals."