Wayne Rooney’s Career
Amid growing transfer speculation, many believe that the last few minutes of the Europa League Final against Ajax, were Wayne Rooney’s last in a Manchester United shirt. Past his prime, it’s time for Wayne to be moved onto another club. Whether thats his boyhood club Everton or a journey to China is completely up to him. But if Rooney really does leave, will he be regarded as a club legend by a fan base with divided opinions of him?
Wayne Rooney broke onto the scene as a 16 year old, surprising Arsenal Fc with a strike that left David Seaman with no chance. Rooney would be careful managed by Moyes during his time at Everton. Until 2 years later, at the age of 18, a £25.6 million pound transfer to Manchester United, the biggest team in the world made him the most expensive teenager ever at that time. Fans were buzzing about signing a player who had the world at his feet, a future England star and someone who potentially could beat Alan Shearer’s all time Premier League goal scoring record.
I remember being at his debut like it was yesterday. Tuesday 28th September 2004, the stadium was all talking about the boy Rooney starting his first game in a Champions League group stage match against Fenerbahce. Every time he touched the ball, the crowd went wild and then on the 17th minute he latched on to a Ruud pass and scored. The noise was deafening. The atmosphere was incredible, the crowd was still bouncing when United countered at pace and who was on the end of the move in the 28th minute. Yes Wayne Rooney. The 18 year old was lightening up Old Trafford. The only way he could top the evening would have been to score a hat trick. Which he accomplished when he scored a free-kick 25-30 yards out which he finessed into the top corner. A star was born.
United fans loved Rooney from the beginning because he was a rough diamond. A club famed for giving youth a chance, Manchester United had another future star but Wayne was different. Rooney was the council estate kid, who you could tell was doing what he loved. Fans loved his passion and fight, even though his feisty side got him in trouble from time to time, it showed he cared. He’d chase down every ball and wore his heart on his sleeve.
The hype was real. In his first season at Manchester United he won the Golden Boy Award as well as the PFA Young Player of the Year Award and that was just the beginning of the long list of individual and team honours he’d go onto win. The next season saw him win his first trophy at United winning the League Cup where he won MOTM in the final after scoring 2 goals in a 4-0 win against Wigan. Rooney went onto win the PFA fans player of the year and PFA Young Player of the Year award for the second year running. This was despite suffering a broken metatarsal only 26 games into the season after a tackle from Chelsea’s Paulo Ferreira who went on to win the Premier League title for the second year running under Jose Mourinho. Wayne was quickly gaining a reputation as one of the best under 21 players in the world.
As the 2006-2007 season got underway, Manchester United hadn’t won the title for 3 years. Some fans and pundits were saying Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United’s reign of domination had come to an end with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea now dominating the Premier League. A lot of pressure was on the teams shoulders to end the title drought as fans were becoming frustrated with failure.
Rooney struggled in the opening half of the 2006-2007 season. Going on a 10 game scoreless streak, Wayne came under scrutiny due to his performance not meeting the expectations of the fans or his price tag. A hat trick against Bolton helped Rooney rediscover the form that gained him the love of the fans and his performances really helped United in the second half of the season, which earned him a 2 year contract extension. He went on to score 14 goals that season in the league helping United win the Premier League title that all the fans wanted.
2007 was a frustrating year for Rooney. Two injuries, one in which he broke his metatarsal again meant he missed the majority of the first half of the season. Missing 10 games though didn’t stop Wayne scoring 12 goals in the league as he played apart in one of the best Manchester United teams ever. Him, Ronaldo and Tevez played the most exciting football I’ve ever seen, scoring over 100 goals that season Manchester United went on to win the Premier League for consecutive seasons and the trophy everyone dreams of the Champions League. It was the best season I’ve seen being a United fan, but in all honesty Wayne was overshadowed by fan favourites such as Ronaldo, Giggs and Scholes.
The next season would be the last for Ronaldo, The 2008-2009 season started badly, with a defeat to Zenit Saint Petersburg in the UEFA Super Cup. But this did not effect United’s league form as Rooney became the youngest player to make 200 Premier League appearances. In December Rooney scored the winning goal as Manchester United beat LDU Quito 1-0 to win the FIFA Club World Cup and was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player in the tournament. Wayne returned from the tournament to quickly get injured. An hamstring injury ruled him out for a few months. Fans were becoming worried that Wayne was injury prone, but this didn’t stop Rooney from winning his third premier league title at the end of the season. Number 18, fans were delighted that Liverpool no longer had that most Top division titles.
Ronaldo and Tevez leaving may have been a blessing for Rooney. 2009-2010 was his best goal scoring season. Now Manchester United lead man, Rooney scored 26 goals in the league and 34 in all competitions, Fans started to fully get a glimpse of how key Wayne Rooney was to United, but due to other teams strengthening and United being considerably weaker, Manchester lost their Premier League title to Chelsea. United did win the League Cup this season, but fans didn’t really care about this second tier trophy. Rooney went on to win The PFA Players player of the year and the Premier League player of the season. Rooney was now considered amongst the top 5 best players in the world.
2010-2011 would prove to be the worst season in Wayne Rooney’s United career to date, dispute winning the community shield, Rooney felt United had lacked ambition selling their best players which cost them the previous title. Sir Alex Ferguson relieved in a press conference that Rooney had handed in a transfer request because he wanted to ‘quit the club’. Fans quickly turned against Rooney who it was said was open to a move to rivals Manchester City. Fans vandalised walls outside his house calling him scum and he received death threats. Despite releasing a statement saying it was not about money, Rooney quickly made a U-turn and signed a huge 5 year contract. This made fans to believe he was only playing for money and not for the badge like Giggs and Scholes. Rooney claimed he was injured and that why he hadn’t been playing. Once back in the team after originally being dropped Rooney would win the premier League for the 4th time.
The season after, Rooney was determined to prove the fans and Sir Alex wrong. Rooney went onto score 27 goals in the league which was his highest ever tally. United had the league won for a brief couple of minutes until Sergio Aguero scored the most dramatic late goal to help Manchester City beat 10 man QPR and win them their first Premier League title. United didn’t make the same mistake again the season after and with the signing on Van Persie, Manchester United won their 20th league title in 2013. Wayne Rooney’s 5th and last.
Since 2013, Rooney has seen 4 managers at United. Despite Moyes previous history with Rooney he made Wayne captain and his main man. A £20 million offer from Chelsea was rejected. The season turned into a disaster put down to Moyes not being the right man to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson. Moyes was sacked as the club looked to finish outside the top 4 and Giggs was put in charge for the remainder of the season.
Van Gaal was appointed in 2015 after a successful World Cup with Holland and kept Rooney as captain. In Van Gaals 2 years at United he helped Rooney win the FA Cup in 2016, meaning Wayne had won ever English trophy that he has played in. Despite FA Cup success, Van Gaal’s style of football was boring and not bring the results United fans demanded. Rooney failed to score double figures for the season and his decline was very visible. Rooney had lost his pace, his touch and his positional knowledge due to being moved into central midfield.
Van Gaal was sacked and replaced Jose Mourinho a manager who stopped Manchester United’s dominance during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign. Despite Rooney struggling for game time and only scoring 5 Premier League goals, which was his worst goal scoring season ever in his long career, Rooney still managed to become United all time leading goal scorer an achievement that not all United fans wanted him to achieve. Over taking Bobby Charlton was a personal achievement for Wayne. In the 2016-2017 season under Mourinho, Rooney also won 3 trophies, The Community Shield, The League Cup and the Europa League meaning United had won every competition available to them. Rooney ended the season playing the last few minutes of that Europa League final, leading to fans wondering if hes leaving.
Wayne Rooney-A Manchester United Legend
I find it hard to believe some United fans do not feel that Wayne Rooney reached this full potential at Manchester United. During his 13 years at the club, Wayne in this prime was amongst the top 5 best players in the world, he has also become club captain and the clubs top goal scorer of all time, with 253 goals. A record I personally can not see ever getting beaten especially when now football has so much money at stake, clubs aren’t risking using youth players and big money transfers are happening more and more frequently for strikers who are capable of scoring 20 goals plus a season. Football has lost player loyalty and football clubs have turned into businesses, where results mean money. Therefore I can not see another player being given 13+.years to achieve a personal goal.
Wayne has also won everything. 5 Premier League titles, 1 FA Cup, 3 League Cups, 4 Community Shields, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 UEFA Europa League and 1 FIFA Club World Cup. The accolades speak for themselves. When we consider other clubs such as Liverpool have players like Gerrard with legend status, comparing what the two players won, shows Gerrard didn’t win half of the trophies Rooney has, noticeably missing a Premier League winners medal. Rooney is a clear United legend.
The best players turn up in the big games! Throughout his career Rooney has scored huge goals that have led to United winning these trophies. Wayne has the record for the most goals scored against Arsenal(12) and Manchester City (11) both huge rivals. The best goal i’ve ever seen, was Wayne Rooney’s overhead kick against City in the derby. At a crucial time in the match, in the most crucial match of the season, Rooney produced a moment of magic. Not everyone can do this. His scoring record is some achievement especially considering the other strikers that have played for Manchester United. He was part of the best front 3 potentially the Premier League have ever seen and its hard to argue hes not the best striker Manchester United have ever had.
Why didn’t Wayne Rooney Connect with the Fans?
Even though Rooney has been a excellent servant to the club, I don’t think fans ever truly forgave Wayne for handing in that transfer request. At a time Manchester United relied on Rooney, a player the fans had seen grow up and become one of the very best players in the world, for him to ask to leave threw everything back in the face of the club and the fans. At a time when Manchester City were splashing the cash, his head was turned to our rivals based solely on money. This lead to Rooney earning a ridiculous 5 year contract where he became one if not the highest paid player in the league. It left fans questioning if he made up wanting to leave so he would get a huge new contact and since that day, United fans have never held Rooney in the same regard. Especially as it lead to more rumours about him potentially leaving in the years that followed.
I feel another reason some United fans don’t consider Rooney as a legend is because he was always overshadowed by other players. In a team with Ronaldo, Ronaldo always claimed the applause due to his ridiculous goal to game rate, skill and attitude. Players like Scholes, Giggs and Neville connected with the fans because they were Manchester United youth products who were loyal to the very end, unlike Wayne. Rooney’s decline has been clear to see, put down to being moved into midfield and losing his edge and ability to play with his heart on his sleeve, Rooney in the last 2 years has been more a hindrance who could be ruining his legacy if he over stays his welcome.
Finally his off field antics really haven’t pleased Manchester United fans. Reported back in 2010, whilst wife Coleen was pregnant, Rooney had been spending nights with £1000 per night escorts Jenny Thompson and Helen Wood. Using sites similar to http://www.bossagency.co.uk a Manchester escort agency, Rooney for months was meeting with these two escort for nights of ‘anything goes sex’. Bringing his name into distribute Rooney gave Manchester United a bad image and it was clear it effected his performances at the time. Manchester United fans don’t like it when anything effects a key players performance and it was hard to defend his actions
In my opinion Wayne Rooney will go down as United legend, but he wont be held in the same regards as players like Cantona, Cole and Yorke. His goal scoring record speaks for itself, the titles and trophies hes won speak for themselves. For a few seasons Rooney was part of the best United team I’ve ever seen and brought so much excitement to games, that United were a joy to watch even if the result was going our way until added time. Rooney’s biggest mistake though was handing in a transfer request and I’ve got to admit, I still haven’t totally forgiven him for it. I personally wanted Charlton s record to still be the one to beat just because I think hes United through and through and he went through adversary like the Munich Air Disaster, whereas Rooney was in an extremely fortunate position and took it for granted. Rooney is a Manchester United legend but he could have been THE legend will all the records.