“He’s the biggest English talent I’ve seen since I arrived in England. We were beaten by a special goal from a very special talent.” – Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger,
“A striker of astonishing precociousness” – Journalist Guy Hodgson
“There is no doubt in my mind. Rooney is no longer just a good prospect – he is already a good player.” – Leeds Manager Terry Venables
“He gave us a glimpse of what he is capable of, which was very exciting for Everton and the whole of English football. Two or three times he really stretched us and he’s only just 17. You’ve got to wonder how good he will be in two or three years’ time.” – West Ham Manager Glenn Roeder
Wayne Rooney had the world at his feet. I was there in the Park End the day a sixteen year old boy scored that goal against Arsenal, a preposterous shot that looped over Seaman like a vandal’s brick. I still have the newspaper clippings. Taking on Bolton by himself, eviscerating Leeds, and some of the press’ first clumsy forays into his life, that picture of the Rooney’s lumbering out of the surf onto land. Ageing is a cruel process. Be honest, doesn’t Wayne now look more like the Rooney on the right rather than the one in the middle?
Wayne didn’t go on to lead us into a golden age, instead he left for Old Trafford but the performances continued, that hat trick against Fenerbache on his debut for Man Utd. He may have swapped teams, but he was still a killer of defences. A scorer of fantastic goals. A young street-fighter hellbent on returning the ball to the back of the net.
That’s all gone now. He’s not that player anymore. Rooney’s return would have us all casting our minds back and expecting a bullish Young Elvis, the cruel reality would be Fat Elvis. So unfit was Wayne Rooney six years ago, in his supposed prime, that he was sent off to Nike HQ in Oregon for “conditioning” by Sir Alex Ferguson. At 31 Wayne is now way past his best. None of his youthful exuberance is going to return, it’s not something that can be recharged or summoned back just because he wants to succeed with us. He’s simply a different player now. He’s been playing with adults since he was 15, all those games have taken their toll. Look at yesterday’s game against Arsenal, where he huffed and puffed and did nothing…
#EFC shouldn’t go near Rooney. Been slide-tackling thin air, losing the ball and shooting wide for the whole game. Wouldn’t improve the XI
— Matt Jones (@MattJFootball) May 7, 2017
My heart tells me that he should come home, that he’s one of us, he takes his son to games, and he’s a blue. But my heart is a soppy get. We can buy younger and better than him in the summer. Lukaku has scored as many goals this season as Rooney has in the past three. Rooney’s not good enough for Manchester United, a team just above us – where we aspire to be – in the league. But he’s good enough for us!?
I don’t buy the whole, “he’ll be great for young players” argument either… We have fantastic young players, who are already being coached fantastically, and who will be pushed further down the pecking order by Rooney, an over the hill former star. What’s he going to pass on to our starlets? How to get a Paul Stretford and move to a better team?
Why spend ridiculous money on a memory?
If there’s one organisation in this world that owes Wayne Rooney absolutely nothing, it’s Everton Football Club.
Premier League: Saturday 15 April (15:00); Burnley at Goodison
Saturday 22 April (15:00); West Ham at London Stadium