On the 31 August 2004, Manchester United signed 18-year-old Wayne Rooney from Everton in a deal worth £27 million. Throughout the month, Everton received an offer of £20 million from Newcastle United after Rooney rejected a new contract worth £50,000 per week.
He also handed in a transfer request two leave Goodison Park. United had paid the highest transfer fee at the time for a player under the age of 20. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson knew the type of player Rooney could become after his exploits with Everton.
Since emerging as a 16-year-old, scoring 17 goals in 77 appearances before leaving for United. Rooney had become now of the most sought-after players in Europe following his two seasons at Everton, proving himself as a teenager in one of Europe’s toughest leagues.
Also having a starring role for England at Euro 2004, in which he scored four goals, matching new United teammate Ruud van Nistelrooy’s efforts for the Netherlands. Perhaps Ferguson knew what Rooney could achieve at United? If he continued to work hard and develop.
The legend would spend 13 seasons at United and win all the major honours at the club, helping United to reach the pinnacle of European football once again under the reign of Ferguson, who did so for the second time in his career.
Rooney made a total of 559 appearances for United, scoring 253 goals and 146 assists. This meant that he offered a goal every 2.21 matches and a goal contribution every 1.40 matches. Rooney had a hand in 399 goals for United, which is a great figure for a player that really played in quite a few roles at the club.
He played the main striking position. Also as a second striker, attacking midfielder, a winger. He even played as a defensive midfield at the end of his career. Rooney offered everything he has for much of his United career, keeping United ticking and earning the plaudits. Rooney also played 12 matches for England, scoring 53 goals.
Coming to United as a player with lots of talent.
In his first season at United, Rooney showed what he could become. On his debut for the club, against Fenerbahce in the UEFA Champions League, Rooney scored his first hat-trick for the club as United beat the Turkish club 6-2, scoring 17 goals and six assists in 43 appearances.
Rooney averaged 19.46 goals for the club each season and regularly hit around the 20 goal mark each season. During two seasons (2009/10 and 2011/12) he scored 34 goals for the club. In his final season at the club (2016/17) he scored just eight goals for the club.
In total, he scored eight hat-tricks for United, scoring four goals in one match, which showed his ability. His hat-trick against Fenerbahce will be special as it was his first at United, on his debut and playing in the Champions League.
He also scored hat-tricks against Bolton Wanderers (twice), and Portsmouth in the Premier League. Two other special ones will be prevalent though; the one against West Ham United on the 2 April 2011 and the one against Arsenal on the 28 August 2011 as United beat the North London club 8-2.
Rooney was known for driving the mentality of the club forward, always wanting to win and win trophies. In the summer of 2010, a certain transfer request from Rooney could have chanced everything.
Rooney was being linked to Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester City. He said it was never an option to sign for City and he would have chose Barcelona over Real Madrid. But the Madrid club were the likely destination.
Of course, he never left United, signed a new number contract at the club and continued his career. As Sir Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012/13 season, he confirmed that Rooney had handed in a transfer request once again.
David Moyes, Rooney’s former manager at Everton would need to solve that problem. Rooney was sold to Everton in the summer of 2017 just after Jose Mourinho’s first season at the club. He lasted the 2017/18 season at his former club before moving to DC United in the MLS in the USA.
Chasing the clubs goalscoring record and moving on.
At United, Rooney was chasing the goalscoring record set by the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton. He scored 249 goals for United in 758 appearances. Rooney broke that record by scoring his 250th goal in January 2017, scoring three more goals for the club before leaving United.
Rooney also broke Charlton’s record for England too, having scored 49 goals in 106 appearances with Rooney scored 53 goals in 120 appearances. He broke the record in 2015. Rooney was a player that craved success and guided United to many trophies with his teammates.
His goals were something that helped United massively along the way plus his desire to win. Rooney won five Premier League titles at United. He also won one FA Cup, three League Cups, and four FA Community Shields, one UEFA Champions League (playing in three finals), one UEFA Europa League and one FIFA Club World Cup.
Rooney captained United taking over from Nemanja Vidic in 2014, handing the captaincy over to Michael Carrick in 2017. Since his departure, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young (who have both left) and Harry Maguire have captained the club.
Rooney may be a distant memory for United now, a player that has played a part in the clubs history but he will always be remembered. After United, Rooney went back to boyhood club Everton, staying at the club for one season before heading to the MLS in the United States of America.
He played for DC United and scored 25 goals and 14 assists in 52 appearances. Rooney then returned to England signing for Championship club Derby County in 2019. He was eligible to play for the club from the 2019/20 season.
Rooney managed Derby from the 14 November 2020 after Phillip Cocu, linking with Liam Rosenior, Shay Given and Justin Walker for an interim period, getting the job in his own right 12 days later. Derby finished 21st that season, avoiding relegation by a point, also having a better goal difference.
The 2021/22 season was going to be a tough one for Rooney and it proved to be just that. With problems signing players and a team that was dwindling, Derby were eventually relegated to League One, finishing 23rd in the Championship. Rooney left the club on the 24 June 2022.
Rooney moved to the USA to manage DC United in Washington on a contract until the end of the 2023 season. He won 14 of the 53 matches he managed before leaving the club in October 2023 and returning to England to manage Birmingham City. Which was short-lived.
Written by John Walker