10 Wayne Rooney

eng England
October 24, 1985

Wayne Rooney returned to Everton Football Club in July 2017, 13 years after he had swapped Goodison Park for Old Trafford.

Having left for Manchester United as a teenager, he rejoined the Blues at the age of 31 as a five-time Premier League winner, signing a two-year contract at Goodison Park.

It was with the Toffees where he burst on to the scene, progressing from schoolboy to superstar in less than 12 months.

The Croxteth-born forward weighed in with eight goals in as many games during the Blues’ FA Youth Cup run in 2002 – an achievement which earned a first-team chance at the start of the following season.

He made his Everton debut on the opening day of the 2002/03 campaign against Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park, and then became Everton’s youngest-ever goalscorer when he netted against Wrexham in the Worthington Cup.

Rooney’s first Premier League strike will never be forgotten – a dipping 25-yard shot, an injury-time winner, against Arsenal at Goodison on 19 October 2002, five days before his 17th birthday!

He scored the only goal in a 1-0 away win over Leeds United a fortnight after his famous winner against the Gunners, and in January 2003 he was awarded his first professional contract with the Toffees.

Rooney was then made the youngest-ever England international in February 2003 when he came on as a substitute against Australia at Upton Park. In September of that year, aged 17 years and 317 days, he became the youngest player to score for the Three Lions, equalising in a 2–1 away victory over Macedonia in a Euro 2004 qualifier.

In August 2004, Manchester United paid £30 million – a world-record fee for a teenager – to acquire his services. Across his two full seasons with Everton, Rooney departed having scored 17 goals in all competitions from 77 appearances.

Rooney marked his debut with a sensational hat-trick on his debut in a Champions League clash with Fenerbahce. They were to prove the first three of 253 goals he scored for the Old Trafford Club.

He finished his first campaign with Manchester United, the 2004/05 season, as the PFA Young Player of the Year, an accolade he collected again the following season.

After a debut World Cup appearance in 2006 (he also appeared in the 2010 and 2014 tournaments), Rooney’s first Premier League title arrived in 2007, a season in which he netted 23 goals in all competitions.

Rooney continued be a regular goalscorer as Manchester United went on to win three successive titles. The 2007/08 campaign was especially successful as Manchester United won the Champions League by beating Chelsea on penalties in Moscow.

The 2009/10 season proved to be his joint most prolific for the Reds as he notched 34 goals in all competitions, matching that total two years later in 2011/12.

In February 2011, Rooney scored his unforgettable bicycle kick against rivals Manchester City – a goal he has since described as one of the most important of his career, a vital contribution in what was his fourth Premier League winning season.

Rooney was an English top-flight champion again in 2013 during Sir Alex Ferguson’s final year in charge and his goalscoring exploits continued in 2013/14, as he reached 200 goals for the Reds in all competitions with a Champions League double against Bayer Leverkusen. He joined Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Jack Rowley in reaching that milestone.

In 2015/16 Rooney won the FA Cup for the first time in his career and last season, he became Manchester United’s all-time record scorer when he overtook Sir Bobby Charlton’s record with his 250th strike for the club against Stoke City.

He also holds similar titles with England, for whom he was appointed captain in August 2014. No player has scored more goals for the Three Lions than his total of 53. Nor has any outfielder exceeded the 119 caps he has earned.

In his final season at Old Trafford, he helped the Red Devils land the Europa League trophy.

Upon rejoining the Blues in July 2017, Rooney insisted he had returned to help Everton challenge for honours and said winning trophies with his boyhood club would be the “pinnacle” of his career.