London: Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has said that Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney`s mental approach prevents him from becoming a `world-class` player.
Barton said that Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo are `polar opposites` in their approach and mentality.
The midfielder said that Rooney could potentially have been world class, instead of Ronaldo, whose level of discipline is the reason of his being the world best player, the BBC reports.
Although Barton, an admirer of Rooney, reportedly considers Rooney to be `the epitome of a class Englishman`, he feels that players such as Real Madrid forward Ronaldo are more deserving of the `world class` label.
Barton further said that when one sees Rooney smoking cigarettes they are left to ponder if the United striker is doing everything he can do to be the best player in the world, but said that if it had been on talent alone then Rooney is a better player than Ronaldo.
However, Barton reportedly feels that Rooney falling short of his potential is part of a wider problem with English football, adding that Roy Hodgson`s England side have no chance at the FIFA World Cup this year.
Rooney, who made his senior debut for Everton at the age of 16 in August 2002, has won five Premier League titles, two League Cups, three FA Community Shields and the Champions League and FIFA World Cup once with United, who he joined for 25.6 million-pounds in 2004, the report added.
It is not pleasant at all that I had to approach the court but there was no option left for me. I am glad that I have been proved right and it has lifted my morale ahead for the Asian Games.
Manoj Kumar, Indian boxer