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Wayne Rooney: A Farewell to the Premier League legend

Varun Nair
ANALYST
Feature
813   //    09 Jul 2018, 03:59 IST

Manchester United v Hull City - EFL Cup Semi-Final: First Leg
Wayne Rooney

As MLS side DC United and Everton simultaneously made the announcement of the transfer of Premier League legend Wayne Rooney (as reported by BBC), curtains have fallen on the 16-year old Premier League career for the White Pele that saw him scoring 208 becoming the second highest goal scorer in the league behind Alan Shearer.

Everton debut, first goal and departure for Manchester United

Wayne Mark Rooney joined Everton at the age of 9 after Everton scout Bob Pendleton spotted the mercurial forward as he scored 99 goals in the junior league season. Rooney's ability to score goals was very evident from the start of his Everton days as mercurial forward scored 114 goals in 29 games for the Everton Under-10s and 11s resulting in the forward being promoted to the Under-19s by the age of 15.

The youngster had his first taste of Premier League action as Rooney made it to the bench in Everton's 1-0 win over Southampton in 2002. It did not take much longer for future the England captain to start a match for his club as the then-teenager helped secure a 2-2 draw against Tottenham Hotspur as he became the second youngest first-team player in Everton history.

Then young lad from Liverpool scored his first ever senior goals as he slotted home 2 past the Wrexham defence as Everton defeated Wrexham 3-0 making Rooney the second youngest ever goalscorer for Everton at that time. Then came the moment the when the World took notice upon the then 16-year old, as commentator Clive Tyldesley describes it,

"Gravesen forward. Rooney. Instant control. And he curls it... Oh, a brilliant goal! Brilliant goal! Remember the name! Wayne Rooney",

A typical Wayne Rooney special at the last minute of the match against Arsenal(their future tormentor) ending a 30 match unbeaten run for the gunners while making him the youngest ever Premier League goalscorer then.

Rooney continued his form netting the winning goal against Blackburn while accolades started pouring in with the 16-year named as the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and along with that Everton awarded him with his first ever professional contract making him one of the highest paid teenagers in the world at that time. 2002/03 season ended with for him after scoring goals against Newcastle and Arsenal(2nd goal in as many appearances) while also receiving his first ever red card in a boxing day fixture against Birmingham City.

The 2003/04 season saw Rooney scoring his first goal of the season against Charlton Athletic in August. It took almost 4 months for him to score his second as he netted his second against Portsmouth followed by another against Leicester City and Birmingham City. Rooney scored his last goal of the season against Leeds in a 1-1 draw on 13th April in which would be his final goal for Everton before joining Manchester United.

The start of 2004/05 season started with the 18-year old England golden boy Wayne Rooney submitting a transfer request in August 2004 despite Everton offering a new contract worth 50,000 pounds per week. Everton first rejected a 20million pound bid for Rooney in the hope of keeping the prodigy but a 25.6 million pound bid from Manchester United at the end of the month proved too big an amount to reject making it the highest ever fee paid for a player under the age of 20 years at that time.

Manchester United

Wayne Rooney signs for Manchester United
Wayne Rooney signs for Manchester United

After 2 years in the Merseyside Wayne Rooney decided to join Manchester United after Everton accepted a 25.6 million pound bid from the Manchester-based club in August of 2004. Upon arrival, Rooney was given the no.8 shirt previously worn by Nicky Butt before his move to Newcastle United and made his much-awaited debut against Fenerbahce on 28th September in a 6-2 victory over the Turkish rivals as he scored his first Manchester United hattrick making him the youngest hat-trick scorer in the history of Champions League.


The first season at United went trophyless for the Merseyside born youngster as they lost the title and League Cup to Chelsea, FA Cup to Arsenal and failed to progress beyond the last 8 of Champions League but on the personal front Rooney won the PFA Young player of the year award as well as finishing the season as Manchester United top scorer with 11 goals. The next 2 years saw Rooney winning his first cup with United with League Cup victory over Wigan in 2006 and his first Premier League title in 2007 after forming a superb partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester United's Portugese midfielder
Manchester United's dream partnership

2007/08 season saw the White Pele been given the famous No10 Manchester United jersey previously worn by Ruud Van Nistelrooy. The season saw the coming up of the age of the last great Manchester United side managed by Sir Alex Ferguson as Rooney Ronaldo and Tevez formed one of the greatest ever trio's the English Football had ever seen as they scored 57 goals in that league winning campaign alone helping United win the Champions League and Premier League title with 42 goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and 18 from Wayne Rooney in that season.

The next 5 years saw Wayne Rooney becoming the youngest ever layer to have 200 appearances in the Premier League while collecting 3 more Premier League titles, one FA Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, 2 FA Community Sheild and a PFA Player's Player of the year award in 2009/10 season along with his Manchester Derby goal voted as the best goal in the history of Premier League in 2011

Post Sir Alex Ferguson Era

The 2013/14 season saw Manchester United being led by a manager other than Sir Alex Ferguson for the first time in 27years, with a title-winning side on his side David Moyes was expected to help finish Manchester United in the Champions League positions but the weight on his shoulders was too hard for him to handle as he was sacked before the completion of the season with United finishing a lowly 7th place as Rooney finished the season with 19 goals and 15 assist.

2014/15 season saw Wayne Rooney being given the captain's armband after the departure of Nemanja Vidic by new manager Louis Van Gaal as he set on a course to help United back to the Champions League. Rooney became the third highest goal scorer in Premier League history as he scored against West Ham ending the league with 12 goals and 5 assists helping United back to the champions league.

The last season under Louis Van Gaal saw United missing out on the Champions League football yet again as they finished 5th in the table with Wayne Rooney ending the 2015/16 season with 9 goals and 6 assists as he moved ahead of Cole as the Premier League's second top scorer of all time, and with 238 he surpassing Denis Law in United's top scorers of all time, behind only Bobby Charlton's 249

The 2016/17 season saw Wayne Rooney sidelined to the bench more often than not as Jose Mourinho opted for the mercurial Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the central striker. But he was no to be denied the eventual in a season where he became only the 3rd player to achieve 100 premier league assists.

On 24th November, Rooney overtook Van Nistelrooy as Manchester United's all-time leading scorer in European competitions with 39 goals with the opening goal against Feyenoord in the Europa League. On 7th January 2017, Wayne Rooney scored his 249th goal for the Red Devils in his 543rd match for United tieing him with Bobby Charlton as the club's highest goal scorer.

On 21 January 2017, Rooney finally had his moment of glory as he surpassed Sir Bobby Charlton to become the outright leading scorer for Manchester United with his 250th goal for the club as he equalised from a free kick against Stoke City and eventually ending the season as Europa League winners, League Cup winners and the Community Sheild.


Wayne Rooney scored his last ever season with Manchester United

Back to Everton

After months of speculation, Wayne Rooney returned to his boyhood club Everton on a 2-year contract after Manchester United allowed him to leave on free. With the No10 shirt Evertonian shirt Rooney started of his 2nd journey with a superb goal in the preseason.

Rooney scored his 200th Premier League goal in a 1–1 away draw against Manchester City, becoming the second player to reach this landmark nine days after his first official goal for Everton. He scored his first ever Everton hattrick in a 4-0 victory over West Ham.

Wayne Rooney again brought the records tumbling as he provided the assist for Gylfi Sigurdsson, putting him ahead of Frank Lampard as the player with the third-highest amounts of assists in the Premier League, with 103, as he scored 11 and assisted 2 in his final season at Everton.

With 491 matches 208 goals(2nd highest), 103 assists (3rd highest) and 5 titles Wayne Rooney leaves the Premier League arena as he signs for MLS side DC United.

Still feels like yesterday when Old Trafford faithful saw Ronaldo and Rooney playing in the legendary jersey with the Stretford end chanting:

I saw my mate the other day,

He said to me he saw the white Pele,

So I asked, who is he?

He goes by the name of Wayne Rooney,

Wayne Rooney, Wayne Rooney,

He goes by the name of Wayne Rooney...

Will we see another white Pele as the Old Trafford faithful used to call me?


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Varun Nair
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