I remember watching Wayne Rooney’s goal against Arsenal back in 2002. A fresh faced 16-year-old boy, exploding onto the scene with a net-rippling strike at Goodison Park.
“It’s Premier League history!” announced Clive Tyldesley, as Rooney became the league’s youngest ever scorer.
On Sunday Rooney made Premier League history again, breaking Thierry Henry’s one club scoring record. With 242 goals, he’s just seven behind Bobby Charlton’s all time record for Manchester United – another record he could (and should) break this season.
When I played my first game against Rooney back in 2002, his talent was clear.
Many players have talent but you never know how far they will take it. With Rooney though, it’s a story that a lot of players admire. If we look back at his career, his move to Manchester was a perfect one.
It’s well known that he does more than score goals for his team, always tracking back as he did when I faced him. When he sets his mind on you he will do what ever it takes to stop you.
Seeing him by passing so many legends in the record books is something that takes more then just hard work. You need natural talent, and the intelligence to know where to position yourself on the field.
I remember in my youth at Ajax they used to tell us, “if you’re always moving the defenders will struggle to pick you up.”
That’s what Rooney does. He know where to receive the ball, and loves doing it between the midfielders and the defensive line. This creates problems for teams. The midfielder sees him too late to pick him up and if the defender presses forward he leaves a dangerous gap in the middle of defence.
This is a trick that Rooney mastered, and today you’ll still see him do it.
His most dangerous weapon is his character and it comes out when defenders try to stop him and when he go trough a quiet spell. He will start working even harder on the field and it won’t be long before he starts to outsmart defenders again.
He might have lost a bit of pace but if he could outsmart opponents at such a young age, I’m sure he’s even smarter now.
He’s scored some spectacular goals in his career and I hope to see a good few more, as me as a spectator I enjoy watching the best excel.