FOOTBALL NEWS

19/08/2012 10:00, Report by Nick Coppack
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Wayne: Ten years at the top

Wayne Rooney insists he still feels like a young gun, despite clocking up his first decade of senior football for Manchester United and Monday's opponents Everton.

Rooney is a mere babe compared to the Peter Pan of English football - Ryan Giggs, who, although 38, barely shows any sign of age. The Welshman still plays with the same enthusiasm and verve as he did in 1991 when, as a fresh-faced teenager, he came off the bench to make his debut.

And yet Rooney, who describes Giggs as "the only real legend still playing the game", is no newcomer either. Indeed, on the day he spoke to ManUtd.com - the same day United completed the signing of his new strike partner, Robin van Persie - the former Everton striker was celebrating his own impressive milestone: 10 years since his league debut.

Then, in 2002, he was a battering ram of a 16-year-old, full of talent and unbridled potential. Just two years later, after 77 games for his boyhood club, he would arrive at United with an astronomical price tag and the greatest of expectations.

"It feels like a long time ago," admits Wayne, although he insists "I'm still fairly young!" when asked if 10 years in the game now qualifies him for veteran status. "Well, I feel young anyway. It's great to have played in the Premier League for 10 years. It’s an exciting league and I still get just as excited by playing football as I did when I made my debut. I just hope I can play for another 10 years and have as much enjoyment as I did in my first 10."

Enjoyment might not be the best word to characterise Rooney's recent battles with Everton. He's often a verbal target for Toffees fans who still can't forgive him for his move to Manchester and, in the last meeting, his former club came back from 4-2 down at Old Trafford to draw 4-4 and in the process all but shatter United's title hopes.

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