Wayne Rooney - The greatest English Player of his generation

Rooney, 16, started his career at boyhood club Everton and became the then-youngest Premier League goalscorer.

Wayne Rooney became the first player to score a Hattrick on Champions League debut in 2004, Image credit: Twitter
By Amruth Kalidas | May 29, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

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When a 16-year-old Wayne Rooney curled in a 30-yard screamer in the last-minute winner against Arsenal in 2002, very few knew much about the Everton striker.

Rooney, 16, started his career at boyhood club Everton and became the then-youngest Premier League goalscorer. He shot to super stardom as the most exciting footballing talent the world had seen since Pele. Rooney was labelled as the complete footballer by pundits, fans, and praised by all professionals. He was set to become a truly world-class player.


In 2004, he joined Manchester United for 27 million pounds to become the world’s most expensive teenager. Rooney served at the club for 13 years. He won the club Premier League titles, FA Cup, League Cup four times, Europa League, Champions League and FIFA.

“I think we have got the best young player this country has seen in the past 30 years,” said Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United manager on singing Rooney.


Sven-Goran Eriksson the then England manager gave Rooney his first England cap at just 17 the following year. The teenager responded by lighting up Euro 2004, his first major tournament appearance, threatening to end England’s trophy drought single-handedly

Headed into the quarter-final against Portugal as England’s talisman. Rooney lasted just 27 minutes before being forced off with a broken bone in his foot.


The numbers speak for themselves. During a remarkable career, he played 763 games scoring 313, becoming not only Manchester United’s leading goal scorer but England’s too. Eclipsing Sir Bobby Charlton in both instances.

Nobody has scored more Premier League goals for one club than Rooney. Nobody has scored more away goals in the Premier League than Rooney. And nobody has reached double figures in more Premier League seasons. The only player to score over 200 goals and make over 100 assists. These are just a few of them.

If you were to ask people to name the best players of the Premier League era, some may skip past Rooney. His off-field exploits, the unsavoury headlines that he generated, and that moment he criticised England fans for booing the team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa coloured some fans’ opinion of him. In short, ‘Wazza’ wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea in his youthful days.

Anyone with a footballing brain appreciated his all-round excellence. Only Alan Shearer has scored more goals than him in the Premier League era, with 260 goals to Rooney’s tally of 208 goals, while he also sits second in the all-time list for goals and assists, with 311.


Rooney’s career was also one of selflessness. He played on the flank when Sir Alex Ferguson did not want to burden Cristiano Ronaldo with defensive duties, he could play number ten or number nine as the situation demanded. His versatility is unmatched.

There have been many incredibly talented English players in football history, but none has made an impact as impressive as the one Wayne made. There was even a time during the Messi and Ronaldo era, in which Rooney was truly considered the third-best player in the world.

An unfortunate injury was the only reason he didn’t continue with that progression, but he still kept delivering results.


Wayne Rooney retired from professional football after being appointed the Derby County manager on a permanent basis. He became the full-time manager after he joined as a player-coach role a year ago from MLS side DC United.

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