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A tribute to Manchester United’s former star Wayne Rooney’s career.

An era is ending, and as a new one begins, one by one we witness legends of our times hanging up their cleats for the last time. Wayne Rooney might have retired from playing on Friday but this week he is Derby County’s permanent head coach. He had a brilliant playing career winning tons of trophies, having the best years under manager Sir Alex Ferguson and paired with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Wayne, also nick named Wazza, is best known for his time at Manchester United, so one would be surprised knowing he was and is still an Everton Fc fan.

His favorite club is where his story begins, joining Everton’s youth academy when he was just 9 years old. Wayne Rooney was destined for success, aged only 14 he found himself getting playing minutes in the U19 side. After a few more years of dedication and hard work, he made his 1st senior debut against Tottenham in the Premier League; he was only 16 years old and got an assist too.

The Striker had to wait a bit longer to score his first professional goal, against an undefeated Arsenal team; a banger that went bar down from the top left corner from about 6 yards out of the box!  What a beauty, and he also became the youngest Premier League goal scorer ever, the announcer yells out “Remember the name, Wayne Rooney”, and he was right, it will be remembered. Number 18 at the time, he scored 15 goals for Everton, and in 2004 he was bought by Manchester United at also, 18 years old. This is where his career would reach heights he probably never could have imagined in his life.

1st competitive goal:

Sold to Manchester United

Ferguson, Manchester United’s legendary coach said that ‘’Eyebrows were raised’’ by the board when he convinced them to pay $40.7m for the young striker. His gamble did pay off immediately, Rooney wearing the number 8 shirt for United made his debut against Turkish giants Fenerbahce. Scoring a hat trick and got an assist, 4 points in his first game with his new club, in the Champions League! All of England realized that day, then and there, that Wayne Rooney is the real deal. Cristiano Ronaldo had just signed with United the year before Rooney came, and they formed a dangerous duo together winning many trophies together. Once Ronaldo was sold to Real Madrid in 2009, Rooney became the main man at the club.

Just like this article began, Rooney also witnessed the end of an era during his time at Manchester United, playing with players that will be spoken about for decades to come. The class of 92 Man U academy graduates had just been broken up as Nicky Butt and David Beckham left before Wayne joined the club; however he still had mentors in Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, and Phil Neville. These are some HUGE names in the football world. He even watched Ferguson retire from after coaching United for 26 years.

Class of 92:

Rooney became the player he was, from the players he played with, and the coach he had. When you are playing with people you looked up to as a younger boy, you absorb everything you see like a sponge. One example of that is how Rooney perfected his striking game learning a lot from the talent the team had, for example Ruud Van Nistelrooy, before forming a goal scoring front 3 together with  Ronaldo. Between 2006 and 2009 they won 3 Premier League Titles, 1 Efl Cup, 1 Fa cup, 1 Champions League cup and a Fifa World Cup.

His favorite goal he ever scored is a massive bicycle kick in a 2-1 win against Manchester City:

New Coaches, New era at the Red Devils.

United’s last Premier League title was won with Rooney and was Ferguson’s last year coaching. By the time 2013 – 2014 campaign kicked off under new manager David Moyes, Rooney had already won 5 EPL titles and 13 of his 16 trophies won as a senior player.

The team had a very disappointing year, in which would be known as a poor transition season where the club also failed in the transfer market, not replacing outgoing mediocre players.  Moyes was sacked a year later after Manchester finished 7th, missing out of European competitions for the following year, which was not normal for this team of this standard. This is also when Rooneys playing time slowly began to diminish, but he was able to be more of a leader, and learn a lot from his next  2 world class coaches. Louis Van Gaal was appointed as the new coach for the 2014 and 2015 season, bringing a proven track record from managing Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and the Netherlands international men’s team, coming in 3rd place at the 2014 World Cup.

The new manager would be perfect for Wayne to learn from, having won a league title in every club team he has coached, as well as a Champions League trophy. Under the new Gaffer Rooney was moved into a midfield role, which was something new to him, only occasionally playing in his familiar striking position. This is also around the same time the now retired player knew he would get into coaching, and in 2019 he rated Louis Van Gaal as the best coach he has ever played with.

“Van Gaal is by far the best coach I have worked with⁠—one hundred per cent. His tactical skills, his way of preparing and his attention to the finest of details I found amazing, I admired that in him, having never looked at stuff like that before. I have learnt a lot from him and I am definitely going to use those lessons for when I am a manager.

As highly successful the new manager was before taking over the club his 2 year time there was not that great with United finishing 4th, then 5th place, winning just an Fa Cup during that stretch. Manchester started to become predictable, and fired the coach at the end of 2015 – 2016 with another huge name replacing him: Jose Mourinho. The problem is that for 26 years Man Utd were being coached by Alex Ferguson, and won 13 Premier league titles, and 38 trophies. After a run like that, the fans became accustomed to this type of success, and anything else became unacceptable.

Wayne Rooney, one of Manchester United’s Greatest players:

Under Mourinho, Rooney was playing as a number 10, but lost his starting place after a few weeks, and could not get back in due to the form of other players including new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The team did much better than the previous 3 years, winning an Fa Cup, the Europa League but finishing 6th in England. When he did get playing minutes, he was shuffled around the midfield and sometimes put up front, but not often enough. Rooney knew then and there it would be his last season in a red kit, making a move to boyhood and favorite club Everton in summer of 2017.

Even if Rooney had troubles under his last manager, there were positives; he was able to learn a lot from behind the scenes. He left as United’s highest ever goal scorer, 253, and was able to be the leader he needed to be to the younger players like Martial, Rashford and others. However this was his least productive season, with only 5 goals and 5 assists for the legend.  Next year would be his last in the Premier League, making an emotional return to the club he began at as a boy, and left in 2004. At Everton he played his last top season finishing with 10 goals and 2 assists in a poor side.

Time to try a new league.

Wayne Rooney joined Dc United in the MLS for the 2018-2019 season in an effort to prove to himself he still had what it takes, and to try playing in an upcoming foreign league. He was instantly a crowd favorite for his hard work, goal contributions and for the fact that Rooney and the career he had actually come to play in Dc. He was overall very productive scoring 12 goals and 6 assists from 20 games in his first year, and 11 goals and 7 assists from 28 in his second season as the club captain. It wasn’t enough for the team to win any trophies, but was well worth the experience and we got to see the Rooney we all knew from the past.

Wayne Rooneys’s Dc United Goals:

Back to England.

After 2 years in the USA, and much thought about his future, Wayne came back to England singing with 2nd division side Derby County as a player manager. This would be the chance he has to really make a difference and get into coaching. He still played 20 games having 5 goals and 3 assists from the midfield. In November 2020 Derby sacked Manager Phillip Cotu, and Rooney took himself out of the playing squad, taking over the team as manager with 3 others. It remained this way until last Friday, January 15th he was appointed Derby’s manager for the next 3 years, after officially retiring from his career as a player.

Wayne Rooney leaves us with many memories, but some that stand out the most are his recent Dc United moments, the trophies he won with Manchester, his time with England, and years of devastating partnerships with Robin Van Persie, Carlos Tevez, Demitar Berbatov, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and so many more players. The man is Manchester United and England’s  international men’s highest goal scorer ever (253 and 53). He has the second most ever goals scored in the Premier League with 208, and is the 3rd best playmaker with 103 assists.

This makes him the only footballer EVER to score at least 200 goals and a minimum 100 assists in the Premier League. As an Englishman, he has the country’s most ever goals in the Champions League (34). The former number 10 is also the 2nd most capped English player, 120 games, scored the most Premier League away goals ever (94) and has the record for most EPL seasons reaching double figures for goals, 12 years.

The player has won it all at club level, but unfortunately never won an International trophy with England, which is probably his biggest regret, and could be a future goal of his as a coach. One thing for certain is the man retires with an outstanding career behind him, setting the bar very high for English players. He has left his mark on not only the Usa and in England, his name is known around the globe. One could imagine how much better his club career with Manchester could have been if Ferguson stuck around for a few more years. This we will never know, but 1 thing we do know is that he was one of the most consistent and hardworking players to have ever stepped foot on the pitch at Old Trafford, in the famous Manchester United kit.

Farewell Wayne Rooney the player, and welcome Wayne Rooney the coach.

Remember the name.

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