Friday, December 14, 2007

10. Wayne Rooney

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Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

Birthdate: 24 Oct 1985
Birthplace: Croxteth
Position: Striker
Appearances: 161
Joined United: 31 Aug 2004
United Debut: 28 Sep 2004 v Fenerbahce (H)
International England

Wayne Rooney is a player in a hurry. He burst onto the Old Trafford stage in September 2004, just as he had burst into the Premiership with Everton, and has become arguably United’s most important player.

Much was expected of the England’s 18-year-old hero of Euro 2004 when he swapped Everton, his boyhood club, for the Reds in August of that year. Yet becoming the world’s most expensive teenager - £20m rising to a possible £30m – did little to phase him.

In his very first game at Old Trafford he produced a stunning display, putting behind him the frustrations of a metatarsal injury, to blast an

unforgettable debut hat-trick past a shell-shocked Fenerbahce.

It was a fairytale start to his United career and very much a sign of what was to follow. By the end of the 2004/05 campaign he’d amassed 17 goals in 43 appearances. Sadly he missed out on his first winners medal – United losing on penalties to Arsenal in the FA Cup final – but was rightly named PFA Young Player of the Year.

Rooney’s second season at Old Trafford saw him again take huge strides, justifying his billing as one of the world’s most exciting young talents. He netted the Reds first goal of the season against Debreceni and ended the season with 19 goals in 48 matches. It was a contribution that saw him named both Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year by fans and PFA Young Player of the year (again) by his fellow professionals.

The young striker openly endeavours to better his goals tally each season, and the 2006/07 campaign saw Rooney achieve his aim with 23 strikes as he shook off a difficult World Cup with England.

Rooney's red card during England's quarter-final defeat to Portugal caused a media storm in Britain, not least because of the involvement of United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo, but Wayne rose above

the controversy to register another excellent year at United.

A long goalscoring drought was emphatically ended with a stunning hat-trick at Bolton, while doubts over his ability to find the net in Europe were well and truly banished as he netted four goals in the Champions League latter stages; home and away against Roma and a brace at Old Trafford against AC Milan.

The development of the man Sir Alex describes as “the best young player I have seen in my time” continues at a rate which causes either exhilaration or consternation, depending on who you support.


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