Blessed with the kind of technique rarely seen in English footballers, Wayne Rooney would have the ability to play in any league in the world.
Since his move from boyhood club Everton as an 18-year-old, Rooney has helped Manchester United to four more Premier League titles, and also to the Champions League trophy in 2008. Aggressive, strong, skillful and with the capacity to hit at least 20 goals a season, Rooney is indeed a precious commodity.
- Name: Wayne Rooney
- Nationality: English
- Date and Place of Birth: October 24, 1985 in Liverpool, England
- Position: Striker
- Current Club: Manchester United (Premier League)
- Previous Club: Everton (2002-2004)
- International Career: 2003 to present
Early Life:Rooney grew up on a deprived council estate in Croxteth, a suburb of Liverpool. He was spotted at the age of 9 by Everton scout Bob Pendleton and joined the club’s academy. He was part of the youth team that reached the final of the FA Youth Cup in 2002.
The striker became the youngster player to score a goal in Premier League history when he netted the winner against Arsenal five days before his 17th birthday in October 2002. The record has since been surpassed twice but the quality of the strike – Rooney turned and curled a long-range shot past England’s World Cup goalkeeper David Seaman and into the top corner – marked the youngster out as a special talent.
But there was always the suspicion that this firebrand would not be sticking around at Goodison Park for too long. Despite his love for the club, Rooney was desperate to join a team challenging for major honors. So after 17 goals for Everton in all competitions, he signed for Manchester United for around US$46.
The Big Time:
Rooney scored 17 goals in all competitions for United in his first season at the club. Critics were purring over this tenacious youngster with the skill to match some of the game’s greats, but a questionable temperament that saw him get in trouble with referees. 18 domestic yellow cards over the 2003-4 and 2004-05 seasons was a fair indicator of which part of his game he needed to work on.
But Rooney has managed to control the less savory parts of his play and can now be relied upon not to react to provocation.
Rooney built up a superb understanding with Cristiano Ronaldo and the pair were magnificent as United won the Premier League and Champions league in 2008. The Portuguese star left for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 and his departure saw Rooney become a more central figure at Old Trafford.
Rooney helped the club to two more Champions League finals in the 2009 and 2011 seasons where the Red Devils were beaten by Barcelona on both occasions. Rooney was on target in the second of those finals at Wembley but could not prevent his side going down 3-1.
Although Rooney and United came up short in Europe, they won the Premier League in those seasons. The second came after the striker had experienced a poor first-half of the season and handed in a transfer request before performing a U-turn and signing a big-money deal in October 2010.
Rooney fell out with Sir Alex Ferguson in the title winning 2012/13 season and was strongly linked with a move to Chelsea until signing a new five-and-a-half year contract in February 2014.
Rooney became the youngest player to play and score for England when he faced Australia at 17. Theo Walcott has since become the youngest to play, but Rooney still holds the goalscoring record. An impressive Euro 2004 followed and despite a petulant red card for stamping on Portugal’s Ricardo Carvalho at the 2006 World Cup, he has developed into one of England coach Fabio Capello’s indispensable players.
The striker was given the captain's armband for the first time in a November 2009 friendly against Brazil, standing in for the injured John Terry.
The 2010 World Cup was a disappointing affair for Rooney, who did not look the same player who had dazzled for United the previous season.