Wayne Rooney – both a controversial and an exciting player

This was simply a player that Alex Ferguson wasn’t going to miss out on.

How right was then BBC pundit Alan Hansen way back in 2004?

Eighteen-year-old Wayne Rooney had just confirmed his deal to sign for Premier League giants Manchester United after having an outstanding start to his professional career under David Moyes at Everton. The pick of the memories being the volley against Arsenal when Sky Sports commentator had the famous line; “Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing 16-year-old Wayne Rooney.”

He was a special player, but, did his career go the way he wanted to? Did he live up to those ‘high expectations?’ Ten years on and he’s captain of Manchester United despite previously handing in two transfer requests and having numerous arguments with both the club and former boss Alex Ferguson.

It also wasn’t the best of weekends for Wayne Rooney last week. The striker was sent off after lashing out at Stewart Downing in Manchester United’s 2-1 win over West Ham.

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As soon as I started this article I went diving into media reports back when Rooney made the move in 2004. I came across a feature piece from Alan Hansen speaking about Rooney’s move and how he’s buoyed to see the progress Rooney would make under “master manager” Alex Ferguson. He also said how it’s a massive opportunity for Rooney and one he would not pass up.

Hansen said:

But, for Rooney, it’s a massive opportunity and one he could not afford to pass up.

 

He will be under the guidance of Ferguson, who has been a master at developing young players. It will be fascinating to see how this brilliant talent develops under the master manager.

Hansen was right. Wayne Rooney himself was on top of the world as he was coming away from an excellent set of performances for England in Euro 2004. Back to quoting Hansen, lastly, he believed this move was massive and it would be worth it for all parties, England, Everton and of course, Manchester United.

Much will be made of such a fee being paid for an 18-year-old, and make no mistake there will be a massive weight of expectation on the shoulders of one so young.

 

But, when the dust has settled, I believe this is a good move for all parties involved – Rooney, United and yes, even Everton.

Lastly, we can finish on quotes from then Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson who believed in Wayne Rooney, maybe expecting too much from him.

I can see Rooney having the same impact as Eric (Cantona) had on the team when I signed him.

Something else! Everton fans were left annoyed over Rooney ditching the club to sign for Ferguson’s Reds. Graffiti artists took to the streets and one famous line read;

Rooney could have been a God, but he chose to be a Devil.

A fascinating line. Looking back, you can only see the happy parties in Manchester United and former Match of the Day pundit Alan Hansen, whereas, you could see the frustration boil from the blue side of Merseyside.

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Alex Murray

Irish sports journalist. Following the ups and downs of the League of Ireland.

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