After 13 years in the city of Manchester, Wayne Rooney is back on Merseyside with Everton, the club where it all began for him. From the 17-year old that scored that screamer against Arsenal in 2002, Rooney would go on to become one of the finest players to grace the game when he signed for Manchester United for £27 million in 2004, aged 18.
At that time such amount was big money and splashing such on a teenager then meant only one thing: He was one for the future. Success was associated with Rooney as he helped the Red Devils assert their dominance in England and Europe, winning a total of 12 major trophies.
Rooney leaves Old Trafford as United’s all time scorer with 253 overall goals, eclipsing Bobby Charlton’s record of 249 that stood for 43 years.
Considering that Rooney is just 31 years of age, one could say he still has a good number of years ahead of him but having seen his role reduced in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, it became eminent that Rooney needed another place to find his feet and rhythm and going back to Everton makes a lot of sense as it ensures he remains in a competitive league compared to China and the United States, where he had been rumoured to move to in the past.
Rooney was initially supposed to see out his contract with Manchester United until the 2018/2019 season in which he becomes ambassador to the club thereafter. This could translate to retirement at the age of 34 but with his form dropping, such a deal had to be cut short.
One of the shortfalls of Wayne Rooney’s glittering career at Old Trafford is the amount of criticism he has received for poor performances. It is rather surprising that majority of the backlash aimed at the Merseysider comes from United faithful themselves.
His abilities even during his hay days have been questioned and that is very unfair. Rooney tends to go off for long stretch of games, often costing the team valuable results but his contributions on the field of play outweigh his bad runs.
Rooney will always be remembered for his team work and work ethic. Instead of taking glory for himself, he always laid himself down for the team, often playing a support role and even going way back to defend when the team is under pressure. It’s no surprise that the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Dmitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez and Robin van Persie all flourished because of the great partnership they formed with Rooney and the results of all these were more accolades.
Rooney will also be remembered for constantly scoring against some of United’s rivals notably Arsenal and Manchester City – the latter in which he is the leading scorer for that fixture. His goals ensured the Red Devils got the bragging rights most of the time.
Wayne Rooney showed great leadership skills on and off the pitch. Apart from being the captain for both club and country, the 31-year old always displayed a high degree of maturity that very few players can boast of.
When it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be a regular in the United first team, Rooney never went about sulking or showing his grievances to the media. He handled all with professionalism and such is what managers like and expect from their players because it gives them to opportunity and atmosphere to work whether or not the club is reaching its desired objectives.
Wayne Rooney might have left Manchester United but it’s definitely not the end for him as he might come back and have a role at the club, perhaps as an ambassador, a backroom staff or even a board member. Whatever the case is, it will be impossible to forget about him because it will take a long time to find a player like him again.
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Photo Source: Zimbio.com