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Updated on January 7th 2024, 11:26:11 am

Wayne Rooney: The Everton years

Witness the meteoric rise of Wayne Rooney, from schoolboy prodigy to Premier League sensation, during his dazzling teenage years at Everton.

This player doesn’t need any introduction, as he is one of the most recognizable names in the game’s history. He is a legend at both club and national level, being Manchester United’s record goalscorer and the England national side’s second greatest goalscorer. Wayne Rooney was nothing less than a sensation, and he is still associated with the game with his current managerial tenure at D.C. United. While it was at Manchester United that Rooney established himself as a Premier League legend, it was at Everton where he began to show glimpses of his magnificent potential to develop into football’s finest. 

Who is Wayne Rooney and what are some highlights of his teenage years at Everton?

Wayne Rooney, a football legend, began his career at Everton, showcasing extraordinary talent from a young age. Highlights include becoming Everton's youngest goalscorer, breaking Arsenal's unbeaten run in the Premier League, and earning recognition as the 2002 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. His iconic career continued with a record-breaking move to Manchester United in 2004. Rooney later returned to Everton, leaving a lasting legacy in English football.

Let us look back at Rooney’s teenage years at Everton.

Youth career

Wayne Rooney showed his extraordinary potential from a very young age, as he scored 72 goals in a single season while playing for Liverpool schoolboys. He later played for Copplehouse boys' club at the age of 9 and went on to score 99 goals in his final season for them. His magnificent abilities were spotted by then Everton scout Bob Pendleton, which led to Rooney joining Everton at the age of 9.

Rooney continued his brilliance, as he went on to score 114 goals in 29 games for Everton's under-10s and 11s during the 1995-96 season. By the age of 15, he was already playing for the under-19s. Rooney also scored eight goals in eight games during Everton's run to the FA Youth Cup Final in 2002, including a goal in the final which they ended up losing to Aston Villa. All of this eventually resulted in Rooney being promoted into the first-team.

The Premier League's teenage sensation

Rooney made his senior debut for Everton on 17th August in a 2–2 home draw against Tottenham Hotspur, starting the match and assisting the first goal by Mark Pembridge. It also made him the the second-youngest first-team player in Everton history behind Joe Royle. He later went on to score a brace against Wrexham in the League Cup in October, with Everton winning that match 3-0 and Rooney creating history by becoming the club's youngest ever goalscorer at the time.

Rooney went on to make even more history a weeks later, as he scored a last-minute winning goal against Arsenal. Not only did the goal end Arsenal's 30 game unbeaten run, but Rooney became the Premier League's youngest ever goalscorer at the time with his goal. It’s one of the best moments in Rooney's career.

His magnificent time continued in the months to follow, with the player being named the 2002 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. Rooney continued to score important goals for Everton and he even signed his first professional contract at the time. The contract had made him one of the highest paid teenage footballers in the world at the time. Rooney finished the season with 8 goals in 37 appearances. While those numbers might not be considered impressive for today's standards, it was a huge feat back then and the player's extraordinary talents were being seen above everything. It seemed like the sky was the limit for Rooney.

The following season saw more of the same, as the former English international kept on scoring goals for Everton and showcased his magnificent abilities at such a young age. He ended that season with 9 goals in 40 appearances.

That was the end of Rooney's teenage years at Everton as well. The player's extraordinary talents saw him catch the attention of several top club's, and Rooney eventually made a transfer request to Everton. All of this resulted in a record-breaking £25.6 million move to Manchester United in 2004, with the move making him the most expensive youth player at the time. The massive fee ended up being a bargain though, as Rooney established himself as one of the greatest in the club's history and played a huge part in their historic success under Sir Alex Ferguson.

A final goodbye

13 years since leaving the club, Rooney finally returned to his boyhood club in 2017 on a free transfer. It was quite an emotional and memorable move for both the player and fans, with Rooney scoring a few crucial goals and having a few notable moments in his second stint. Scoring his 200th Premier League goal against Manchester City and claiming his first-ever hat-trick for Everton against West Ham were the highlights of his second stint at the club. He eventually left the club a year later in 2018, with the player eventually joining D.C. United.

That was the end of Wayne Rooney's legendary Premier League career, and he'll always have a special place among Manchester United and Everton fans.