10 - Wayne Rooney Profile
Manchester United unveiled Everton striker Wayne Rooney as their biggest signing of 2004 just before the transfer window was due to close in August. The Red Devils signed the 18-year-old in a deal that could eventually be worth ?30million.
Rooney signed a six-year contract and Everton will receive 25 per cent of any transfer fee if he leaves Old Trafford. Contingent payments, dependent on club success, the player renewing his contract and his appearances at international level, could see the transfer fee rise to almost ?30million.
Manchester United beat off competition from Newcastle United for Rooney's signature. A naturally gifted striker, Rooney scored 15 goals in 67 Premiership appearances for Everton since making his debut for the club in August 2002 in the 2-2 draw with Southampton.
The teenager's record for England is outstanding - his excellent Euro 2004 displays brought his tally to nine goals in just 17 appearances for his country. It was these performances which really instigated the bidding war between United and Newcastle for the teenager's signature.
But Rooney chosing of United was vindicated by a superb debut season at Old Trafford. Since his move he has flourished under the close guidence of Sir Alex Ferguson who has an excellent track record with youngsters.
In his debut - a baptism of fire in a Champions League group game against the tough to beat Fenerbahce - he scored a sensational hat-trick as United went on to trounce their Tukish opponents 6-2.
Since then he continued his fine form. He added 14 further goals (including a vollyed wonder-strike in United 2-1 home win against Newcastle) to his tally and has clocked up 43 appearances, justifying his high price tag. He was an undoutbed highlight in United's otherwise lacklustre season. He was also named the PFA Young Player of the Year beating off stern competition from Jermain Defoe, Arjen Robben, Cristiano Ronaldo, Stewart Downing and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
However, he sometimes let his tempremental nature get the better of him. His frequent on-field swearing encouraged the English Schools' Football Association (ESFA) to drop him from a guest appearance claiming he was "not a good role model". FIFA president Sepp Blatter made further comment, saying that Rooney needed "a clip round the ear".
Rooney's antics off the pitch did little to dispel these criticisms when a student accused him of assaulting him in a Manchester club. Rooney denied this and was later vindicated as the claim was dropped. As his second season for United emerges the only thing, it seems, that can stop Rooney is if the media interest surrounding him and celebrity girlfriend Coleen McCloughlin distracts him from his football.
He continued to impress in the 2005/06 season for United, often seeming like the only thing keeping them going in some tricky spells, and was rewarded with his first major medal in the Carling Cup final, where he scored twice against Wigan and received the Man of the Match award.
However, his season ended in heartbreak as he suffered a metatarsal injury against Chelsea, putting his hopes of playing in the World Cup in jeopardy. He did manage to recover in time, though he probably wished he hadn't bothered, as he was forced to play up front on his own, failed to score and was sent off against Portugal.
The current season has seen a return to form for Rooney, forming an impressive partnership with Louis Saha after Ruud Van Nistelrooy's departure to Real Madrid.
Related Wayne Rooney News
Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney accepts the Red Devils were flattered by the eventual size of their Premier League title triumph.
Wayne Rooney was absent from the open 15-minute section of training on Tuesday ahead of Manchester United's Champions League game with Schalke.
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has admitted an FA charge of using abusive language but appealed the severity of his two-match ban.
Chelsea star Frank Lampard fears Wayne Rooney's FA charge will fire up the Manchester United striker in the UEFA Champions League clash.
Wayne Rooney will find out on Monday if he faces any sanction for his foul-mouthed goal celebration in Manchester United's 4-2 win at West Ham.
Wayne Rooney admitted he was "delighted" to reach the Champions League quarter-finals after Manchester United claimed a 2-1 win over Marseille.
Sir Alex Ferguson expects a storm to be made over the incident which Roberto Martinez felt should have seen Wayne Rooney sent off against Wigan Athletic.
Wayne Rooney provided the most astounding finale to a Manchester derby - then told United's ecstatic fans: "I owe you that."
Wayne Rooney has warned Manchester United to remain wary of a strengthened Chelsea in the title race.
Sir Alex Ferguson praised Wayne Rooney for his goalscoring performance against Aston Villa on Tuesday.
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