Retrospective Scout Report (Dated 01/09/2003): Wayne Rooney - The man touted to be the future of Everton and English football.
Wayne Rooney is a name that is on the lips of every Everton fan. The young Englishman has been making waves for Everton despite only being in his late teens and is already being touted to be the future of the club. The young striker caught the footballing attention with a wonderful goal against Arsenal from outside the box and has been grabbing goals that defy his age.
In this report, we take a look at what makes Rooney so special and why you should remember the name that is believed to be the future of English football for several years to come.
Rooney was born in Croxteth, Liverpool on 24th October 1985 and initially impressed for the Liverpool schoolboys for whom he scored an incredible 72 goals in one season before scouts from Everton spotted him and ensured that he soon joined the club as a 9-year-old.
Rooney has since gone from strength to strength since joining the Toffees, having become a mainstay for the club’s youth sides and played a crucial role in the club’s run to the FA Youth Cup final in 2001-02, where he scored 8 goals.
His performances in the youth sides have not gone unnoticed by the hierarchy at the club as manager David Moyes has ensured a steady progression into the first team and Rooney made his senior debut against Tottenham Hotspur on the 17th of August 2002 and has since gone on to feature 37 times for the Toffees and scored an impressive 8 goals in the process.
Style of play and Strengths
Rooney is perhaps the breath of fresh air that English football desperately needs. He is quick, doesn’t shy away from a challenge and is a brave footballer who would dare to put his head in places that other footballers would put their feet in. Yet, that is not all. He scores goals for fun, as is demonstrated by his record in the Everton youth sides and is a quick attacker who is a perfect mix of energy and ability on the ball and it goes without saying that he is beginning to attract increased attention from opposition defenders.
The Englishman is a versatile player who can play across the front-line and has also shown a creative spark that could help him settle into a number 10 role later in his career when he might no longer possess the quick feet that he does at the moment. He has shown great composure in front of goal for a player his age, is a wonderful striker of the ball and can stretch even the best of defences with his runs on and off the ball.
Such has been Rooney’s impact in his initial year of senior football that he has been compared to the eccentric yet supremely talented Paul Gascoigne and his goal against Arsenal, which ended the Gunners’ 30 game unbeaten run further strengthened his credentials as one of the finest young strikers in Europe as he scored a goal that even some of the more established Premier League strikers would have been in awe of.
If there is one aspect of his game that definitely needs improvement upon, it has to be his inability to handle his temperament. While Rooney is still young and is still developing, it is perhaps his temperament that could prove to be his biggest hindrance. The Englishman has shown an aggressive trait in the past and has a tendency to get carried away in a game and that could at times make him a liability to his manager.
Quotes on the Player
It was Rooney’s goal that ended Arsenal’s glorious unbeaten run and the Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger was full of praise for the Evertonian. The Frenchman, who has an eye for talented youngster, was quoted as saying:
“Rooney is the biggest England talent I've seen since I arrived in England. There has certainly not been a player under 20 as good as him since I became a manager here,” after his side’s loss to Everton in October 2002 and when Arsene Wenger acknowledges a young player’s ability, you know he has the ingredients to be something special.
What comes next?
The 17-year-old was instrumental in his side improving on their 15th place finish from the 2001-02 season (Everton finished a respectable 7th in the 2002-03 season) and will be hoping to play an even larger role in the season to come.
However, reports of the player attracting attention from the big boys of the English Premier League are beginning to emerge and we would not be surprised if the likes of Manchester United or Newcastle United (both the clubs have been linked with the striker) sign up the electric forward in the upcoming transfer window.
For Rooney, though, the next important goal will be to ensure that he becomes a regular in the England National Team. Rooney made his debut for England against Australia in February 2003 after choosing to represent them ahead of Republic of Ireland (he was eligible through an Irish grandmother) and will be hoping to establish himself as a regular for his country.
While the Three Lions already have Michael Owen amongst their ranks, they could definitely benefit from the abilities of a young attacker in order to make their mark in the upcoming UEFA Championships to be held in Portugal in 2004.
There is no denying the fact that Rooney is perhaps one of the finest young strikers to come through the ranks in recent times and his performances for the Everton senior side have further lent credentials to the feeling that he might be the future of English football. However, he will need to keep his head on his shoulders to ensure that the fame that comes along with being a footballer doesn’t get to his head and deter his progression as a world-class footballer.