Wayne Rooney on his United debut.

Revealed: Why Rooney's debut shirt was ripped

Tuesday 24 November 2020 13:21

Wayne Rooney tackles some difficult questions during his revealing UTD Podcast, particularly when discussing his 2010 transfer request and relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson, yet there are others which are much easier to answer: like why was his debut shirt ripped at the neck?

When the 18-year-old appeared for the first time as a Red back in October 2004, his kit had a very noticeable tear down the middle of his chest. It clearly helped his performance, too, as our summer signing from Everton scored a sensational hat-trick against Fenerbahce in the Champions League (watch it below).  

Rooney’s shirt from that famous night is now proudly displayed in the Old Trafford Museum and, in a lighter moment of his UTD Podcast, Wayne speaks fondly about the circumstances that led to the rip.
 “The ripped shirt is an easy one,” laughs Rooney. “I had been injured for two-and-a-half months, so I had done a lot of work in the gym and my neck wouldn't fit in the top! [laughs] That’s all that was. It fitted in but it was really tight, so I just ripped it to make sure I was comfortable. 

“I remember the build-up to the game. I think it was Middlesbrough in the game before and I remember pestering the manager, saying ‘I am fine’ and ‘let me play’, or ‘let me be on the bench’. I think he was going to put me on the bench and then he said, ‘do you know what, leave this game, get another couple of days of training in and I am going to start you in the Champions League’. 
“So I was like, 'fine'. I trained and then obviously the game came. I was just so excited to be playing football again. I hadn't played, obviously, since the Euros [with England] and to be stood in the tunnel, I could feel the anticipation from the crowd and I knew it was a big night for me. 

“As I said before, being a Scouser playing for Man United, I knew I had to win the fans over because if it didn’t go well then I was probably a player who would get less time than maybe somebody else because of that. But I never thought my first game would end up the way it did.”
Classic Match: Rooney's debut v Fenerbahce Video

Classic Match: Rooney's debut v Fenerbahce

Watch the goals from Rooney's iconic United debut, against Fenerbahce at Old Trafford in the Champions League...

Pressed on the topic of winning the fans over, Rooney reveals it was a subject that occupied his mind at that time, due to the historic rivalry between the cities of Manchester and Liverpool. 

“That was in the back of my head,” he admits. “It was something that I thought about. It was almost like I was talking to myself in some ways, where I knew what football fans wanted to see. Ability aside, I worked hard and I gave everything for the team. I know fans respect that and expect it. 

“As long as you are doing that, I knew my ability would get me to a good place. I knew if I played to the ability I expected from myself, then naturally that relationship would grow and grow.”

Delve into Rooney's UTD Podcast: