Wayne Rooney.

Why Rooney is one of United's all-time greats

Friday 15 January 2021 16:38

Wayne Rooney's retirement probably ages most football fans who remember him breaking onto the scene in such precocious fashion with Everton.

Of course, he was to spend the majority of his career with Manchester United, somehow fulfilling his stratospheric potential by becoming the Reds' all-time leading goalscorer and England's top marksman to boot.

The striker was somebody who never gave less than 100 per cent on the field and shirked no challenge. Even at his peak, he sacrificed himself for the team at times and the result was a string of honours in the game.

Watch Wayne Rooney's top 10 Premier League goals for United.

Undoubtedly one of our greatest-ever players, in 2017, Rooney ended his glorious spell here with 253 goals to his name, after 559 appearances.

His influence in refusing to accept defeat to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final of 2016, embarking on a determined, mazy run that led to Juan Mata's equaliser, epitomised his sheer will to get his hands on a missing key piece of silverware in his collection.

By then, he had already won the Champions League and five Premier League titles.

Chuck in the FIFA Club World Cup in 2008, when he scored the winner in the final against Quito, three League Cups and, in his farewell United appearance, the Europa League, and it adds up to a stellar career.

Yet Rooney provided so much more than can realistically be written about here. A truly wonderful footballer with the attitude of a kid playing on the street fearing it might be time to get called home at any minute.

A sensational signing by Sir Alex Ferguson in 2004 and a player who is remembered fondly here in the build-up to pretty much every game. Liverpool, this weekend? He scored our last winner at Anfield, a feat he had already achieved in 2005 when he successfully dodged a mobile phone thrown from The Kop while celebrating.

It's the same most weeks and there is never not an excuse to show one of his special strikes.

Wayne Rooney's Manchester United Timeline.

I am sure every United supporter wishes Wayne the very best of luck in management, as he starts by aiming to continue the good work he has started as interim boss at Derby County.

Yet we will all feel a tinge of sadness and nostalgia at hearing he is hanging up his boots. Here's hoping he can be persuaded to appear in a Legends match at Old Trafford when charity games are allowed to return to the Theatre of Dreams. 

You can bet if he does, he'll be treating it like the Champions League final!