word count: 697character width: 60Wayne Rooney - A New Boy Wonder for English Football?by Chris Towlandwww.Football-Nut.co.ukUntil England's untimely exit at the hands of the hostnation (and a Swiss R...
word count: 697 character width: 60
Wayne Rooney - A New Boy Wonder for English Football?
by Chris Towland www.Football-Nut.co.uk
Until England's untimely exit at the hands of the host nation (and a Swiss Referee), the player making all the newspaper headlines during Euro 2004 in Portugal was Wayne Rooney, English football's latest 'boy wonder'.
Still four month's shy of his nineteenth birthday, Rooney's four Euro goals ..... two against Switzerland (including his shot that rebounded off the post only to hit the Swiss keeper and bounce into the net) and two further superb goals against Croatia, set English hearts racing with hopes of a first major tournament win since holding the World Cup aloft in 1966.
Those hopes, of course, were eventually brought crashing to earth by a combination of a Wayne Rooney injury, an extremely dubious disallowed goal and traditionally poor penalty taking by the English team (including one from our Captain that Jonny Wilkinson would have been proud of!)
No-one can question Wayne Rooney's performances for his country, the quality of his football at international level or his incredible goalscoring ability, but have Rooney's performances in the blue shirt of his own club, Everton, been as sparkling as those when wearing his national colours? ....... And what does the future hold for our 'Roonaldo'?
Rooney's Premiership debut arrived early in the 2002/2003 campaign when he became the youngest Premier League player at the tender age of sixteen. Two other records quickly followed ..... Firstly, the two goals he scored in Everton's Worthington Cup victory over Wrexham gave Rooney the title of Everton's youngest-ever goalscorer, a record that had previously been held by Tommy Lawton. Secondly, in October 2002 and at the age of 16 years and 360 days, a cracker of a goal that beat the England goalkeeper David Seaman in the last few seconds of the game against Arsenal, made Rooney the youngest-ever Premiership scorer!
Many England fans will be surprised to hear however, that apart from a few very notable occasions, Wayne Rooney's performances in the Premiership have been less than spectacular as he has often seemed unable to duplicate his England form on the domestic stage!
In his first season of Premiership action he made fourteen full appearances for Everton and came on as a substitute a total of nineteen times. During this season Rooney scored a total of six Premiership goals which included the goal in November 2002 that gave Everton their first win at Leeds United for 51 years. A month later, Wayne Rooney was sent off in a game that Everton drew with Birmingham City. Ironically, this was on the very same day that James Milner of Leeds United broke Rooney's youngest Premiership scorer record by the tiny margin of just three days!
During the 2003/2004 season Rooney was certainly catching the eye of Sven Goran Erickson, the England team manager, but statistical records of his season show possibly a lower tally in the goalscoring department than many England fans would have expected. In fact, from twenty-six full appearances and eight as a substitute, Wayne Rooney scored only nine Premiership goals.
But as for the past, who cares? As the whole of Europe saw, Rooney was masterful during Euro 2004 and if it wasn't for his broken metatarsal who knows how far he and his England teammates could have progressed?
As for the future, there is talk in the press of massive bids in the region of £50 million from either Chelsea or Manchester United. Rooney himself is said to prefer the Manchester option which would keep him close to his North- West roots but it is possible that the deep Chelsea pockets may force United out of the bidding.
Wherever Wayne Rooney ends up playing his football for the next few seasons, let's hope that for the sake of the English game his progress continues and that he reaches the heady heights that have been forecast for him and really does become England's 'Boy Wonder'!
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