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July 9, 2017

He Goes By The Name of Wayne Rooney….

by Raymond Forte

As I am sure you are all aware, Wayne Rooney has left Manchester United to return to his boyhood club, Everton. Rooney left Everton 13 years ago as an exciting young prospect costing United just short of 30 million pounds.

Rooney had a highly successful career at Old Trafford and is going to go down as one of the clubs greats. In years to come his legendary status will increase, in my opinion. Many fans will disagree – as they feel he was not loyal to the club.

I find this silly as, for a start, he has remained at the club for 13 years, won many Premier League titles, cups and a champions league trophy, was instrumental in fact. Played with greats such as Van Nistelrooy, Tevez, Berbatov, Robin Van Persie, Ibrahimovic, Giggs, Scholes and Cristiano Ronaldo. He left the club the highest goalscorer in the clubs history.

Perhaps it was his rocky relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson that is leaving a sour taste in the mouth of United fans – and Ferguson has admitted in his book that Rooney never asked for a transfer request. What really went on there- is anybody’s guess. I don’t want to get into the money issue because it’s complicated to go into detail but really it’s simple – players get paid so much because that is their worth to the club. It wouldn’t be fair if a club got richer and richer and didn’t pay the people responsible. And no matter what anyone says to me – Rooney ALWAYS played his heart out week in week out. Yes, perhaps he did not have many good games in the previous two seasons but that is besides the point.

I remember the first time I saw Wayne Rooney play. It was a cold night in December of 2004 at Old Trafford where United defeated Southampton 3-0. The scorers on the day were Scholes, Rooney and Ronaldo. The most exciting player to watch that day – Wayne Rooney. Unfortunately, Rooney peaked very soon in his career. At the time, everyone thought Rooney was the player to win future World Player of the Year wards and win countless individual awards. It was the fans who created an expectation of Rooney and it was Ronaldo the one who turned out to be the player we wanted Rooney to be. Yet, Ronaldo leaves – teases a potential return every summer – still adored (rightly so) by United fans. Rooney, however, to a lot is not. I don’t understand that part.

It feels weird seeing Rooney back in an Everton shirt – or more so – not in a United jersey. I am glad he decided to return to his routes. I am glad he is still in the Premier League and I think he has a lot to offer to Everton. A club where he will get much more game time.

Rooney is one of my all time favorite players and I understand why many fans might dislike him but there’s two sides to every story. Without a doubt he is a club legend, an England legend and a legend of Football. Perhaps England’s greatest ever player – unlucky to be a part of an England team with no heart or passion.

Rooney’s passion has gotten the better of him over the years, questioning the England fans for booing the team etc…

I am going to try and go to Old Trafford in the upcoming season and I would love to see Rooney play one more time at Old Trafford – even if its in a blue jersey.

Here is what some of the games greats have said about Rooney over the years:

“He’s one of those players that, whenever he gets the ball, something seems to happen.” Then England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, 2003.

“Wayne is only 20 and without question the best young player I’ve ever seen.” Then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, 2005.

“Wayne Rooney is the golden boy of English football. Don’t kill him because you will need him.” Eriksson again, 2006.

“We’ve done nothing but help him since he’s been at this club. We cannot quite understand why he would want to leave.” Ferguson again, 2010.

“I think crazy things happen around him also. He is an impulsive guy like me. In football no-one is perfect. You learn from your mistakes and I like that with him. He is himself; I think that is very important. That is one English player I like more than anyone.” Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 2013.

“I felt he was struggling to get by people and had lost some of his old thrust. As time wore on, I felt he struggled more and more to do it for 90 minutes.” Ferguson in his autobiography, 2013.

“He’s been through that generation with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard. He really feels like he’s the dad figure if you like. He puts his arm around us, brings us together, gets us going.” Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, October 2014.

“I miss playing with Rooney. Maybe we will play together again one day. He was so powerful, I was calling him ‘Pitbull’. The power of Wayne Rooney is his mentality and strength and he never stops.” Cristiano Ronaldo, 2015.

“For me he is the great English player of the generation. What he is capable of doing on the field is very special, and he is one of the few players that would improve any squad in Europe.” Barcelona and Argentina forward Lionel Messi, 2016.

“Cristiano had an absolute desire to be the best individual in the world. Wayne would say: ‘I want to be the world’s best but I’ll do it by being a team player.’ That has not allowed him to be the 40-goals-a-season man he could have been.” Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand, 2017.

Thank you for the memories, Wayne Rooney!

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