Earlier this year, Nike released their latest incarnation of the Total 90 Laser range, the T90 Laser III, in a blaze of glory. Backed by millions of dollars in TV and online advertising, Fernando Torres became the focal player, and things looked positive for the third edition boot in the range. But things didn’t go as planned in the boot’s debut game, as Torres failed to score when Liverpool entertained Wolves in the Premier League. The following weekend got even stickier when Torres reverted back to wearing the T90 Laser II in Liverpool’s 1-0 away win to Aston Villa. It just so happened that the winning goal was scored by Torres, and it was a huge milestone, as it was his 50th Premier League goal. Nike knew that this could have been an excellent occasion to showcase, had Torres not been wearing the Total90 II, the new boot’s predecessor. People started to question why Torres was not wearing the latest release, and rumors circulated that there were problems with its design.
Worse was to come, as Torres twisted his knee in the following weekend’s FA Cup tie with Reading, meaning all of Nike’s media efforts were now focused on a player who would not be playing. But then, there was Wayne Rooney.
There is no doubt that Rooney is already on the shortlist for Premier League’s Player of the Year. In 27 League games played so far this season, Rooney has amassed 23 goals and 5 assists; what would be considered an excellent season for most Premier League strikers. But, most impressive, is Rooney’s current form. He has 9 goals in his last 7 Premier League games and 13 in all competitions including the winning goal in the Carling Cup Final – which came via his head! He wore the Total90 Laser III in the first game of his current ‘pink spell’ and he has not changed out of them since! This has led him to become the new focus for all of Nike’s advertising efforts.
So, Rooney is proving that the Total90 Laser III is one of the best current options for strikers to wear, leading to a huge jump in sales of the boot. However, if you take a step back and look at how he has scored, things are a little more interesting. Of the 13 goals he’s scored in all competitions while wearing the new range, Rooney has scored 8 with his head. Half of the goals scored during his current run have actually not come off the surface of the T90 Laser III. That being said, Strikers have one job—to score goals. People don’t remember how you score, just that you were the one that knocked it into the back of the net!
If you ask any striker, they will tell you that having confidence in what they are wearing plays a huge role in how they perform on the field. You need a boot that gives you comfort and support, and one that increases your confidence when striking the ball on goal. One can easily assess that Rooney is comfortable with what he is wearing right now! Over the past few weeks, if you have been watching him closely in games, you’d see that his movement on the field has been extraordinary. In the first half of Manchester United’s clash with Arsenal on January 31st, Rooney took a long ball out of the air, turned back inside leaving his defender for dead, before striking a shot from 25 yards on target. He didn’t score, but it just goes to show the threat he posses at any moment. In turn, it all comes back to what Rooney has on his feet. Knowing he can rely on his footwear, gives him the advantage of being able to do things that we, or the defenders, don’t expect.
From wearing and testing the Total90 Laser III myself, I can completely relate to the confidence Rooney experiences with the boot. They offer great comfort and support, and have specifically placed pods that guide players to a specific area of the foot to shoot with, increasing the belief that you can place the ball where you want it to go. Of course, it takes a lot more than just a pair of soccer boots to improve your game, but having high levels of confidence plays a huge roll.
The release of the Total90 Laser III did not initially go as Nike would have planned. But when it mattered, Rooney stepped up and has been in scintillating form for Manchester United. This can only be good news for Manchester United, England, and of course for Nike, whose decision to focus their attention on Rooney is likely to pay dividends, especially in a World Cup year.
(Also of note, Fernando Torres player profile has since disappeared from the Nike website!)
If you want to get your hands on a pair, head over to Soccer.com!