Are Wayne Rooney's Nike days behind him? The former England captain was one of the brand's leading assets for over a decade, but now that he's retired from international duty and is plying his trade in the bottom half of the Premier League, have Nike decided his time is up?

Barring a few exceptional players, the time comes in most careers where all of a sudden a player just ain't that marketable any more. In an ever progressing game brands are forever searching for the next innovation or next upcoming talent that can keep the brand relevant and on trend. Is this the reason why Wayne Rooney switched into the Nike T90 II as Everton drew with Brighton on Sunday?


Back in 2008 when the Nike Total 90 II was launched, Rooney was a leading Nike asset, a goalscoring power for club and country, and a player on a rapid upward curve. Almost ten years on and this return to the T90 series could indicate his first step into the shadows in a fittingly black colourway.

In a modern game highly charged by finance and progression, the room for sentiment is minimal. Although Rooney served the Swoosh for well over a decade, winning titles on his way to becoming England's leading goalscorer, his time with Nike may be limited. If his Nike contract is up for renewal, there's no question that he would be worth a lot less than his previous contract, most recently reported to be worth £1m a year.


A legendary striker and full-blooded player back at his boyhood club. Or an ageing striker caught in off-pitch controversy and a bit-part player for an underachieving team? Nike do have foundations to cut the Everton forward adrift, and a return to a silo which he produced his best form in would suggest at least some unrest between the two parties.


So where now for Rooney and Nike? Could he accept a smaller contract from Nike to continue wearing the Hypervenom? Would Nike even want an ageing striker wearing a silo marketed at exciting skilful youngsters? Possibly not. Perhaps Umbro, a brand who Rooney has previously worn, and the sponsor of his current club, Everton, could swoop in. As much as a welcomed return it is to see the T90 make a comeback, it almost seems a bit sad for Rooney to just slip out of Nike's side door unnoticed.

A limited-edition run of T90 releases to mark the end of an era? We wouldn't be mad if that happened.