The Legacy Wayne Rooney Left Behind at Manchester United

Rooney, striker of Manchester United (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Rooney, striker of Manchester United (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images) /

Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney is not only the club’s record goalscorer but one of the greatest to have walked down the tunnel at Old Trafford. As we approach eighteen years since Rooney made his debut at United as an 18-year-old, let us take a look at his legendary career.

On September 28, 2004, a young man from Merseyside debuted in the Champions League in a home game against Fenerbahce. Not only did The Red Devils win the game 6-2, but Rooney also scored a hat trick. It started what was going to be a career that spanned thirteen years and led to numerous trophies.

The former Derby County manager started his goals tally in the Premier League against arch-rivals Arsenal. He scored in the 90th minute in a 2-0 victory alongside fellow legend Ruud van Nistlerooy. Despite United not winning any trophies in the 2004/05 season, the English star stood out with 11 league goals in 29 appearances.

There was no doubt that Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United had a gem on their hands. The club reportedly paid a massive 27 million pounds to sign one of the brightest up-and-coming stars in world football. But there was more to come from the starlet as he lit up Old Trafford in the following years.

Wayne Rooney in His Prime Years at Manchester United was Nothing Short of Exceptional

At the end of the 2005/06 season, the former Everton star missed out on the 20-goal season by a solitary goal. However, this reinvigorated the young star to further push his limits as the Red Devils aimed for their first title in three years at the start of the 2006/07 campaign. He smashed the 20-goal mark as he got 23 goals in all competitions.

Wayne Rooney cemented himself as the number one talisman in the United squad. He was playing football that many could only dream of achieving. Alongside the likes of veterans such as Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, and Gary Neville, the young duo of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo were at the cusp of glory.

History would be achieved at the end of the 2007/08 season when they won the UEFA Champions League, alongside winning the league. Although it was a season where he largely played second-fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo, his attributes were appreciated at Old Trafford. While Ronaldo finished the season with 42 goals, Rooney ended it with 18.

However, their partnership and talent would shine as United were European Champions after nine long years. Another feather was added to the cap of a legend.

United also went on to win three consecutive league titles, as they triumphed in the 2008/09 season with Rooney scoring 20 goals in the season.

Rooney’s final years at Manchester United and the history-making 253-goal mark

Sir Bobby Charlton’s 249-goal tally stood the test of time, and many thought that it could be a while before anyone got anywhere near it. Denis Law stood tall in second place with 237 goals, but those numbers would ultimately be surpassed by Rooney.

In his final season at Man United, the English star would surpass Charlton after scoring a free kick against Stoke City. The talisman’s final goal for the club would come against Tottenham Hotspur in the last game of the 2016/17 season, ending his tally at 253 goals.

Wayne Rooney would mark his last appearance for the club at the UEFA Europa League final against Ajax. United won the game 2–0 as Rooney lifted the last trophy of his illustrious Manchester United career.

The former Everton player would leave for his boyhood club following weeks of speculation. He signed a two-year contract but would only be there for one year. He then moved to DC United in Major League Soccer in the USA.

The talisman returned to England as a player-coach at EFL Championship side, Derby County, in 2019. His stint as a player at the club did not bear much fruit. In January 2021, Wayne Rooney was appointed as permanent manager of the club, hanging up his playing boots, and ending what was truly an exceptional career.

Wayne Rooney is currently plying his trade at DC United as a manager

Despite never winning the highest individual accolade in world football, the Balon d’Or, Rooney left an indelible mark on how the game is played in the modern game. The United legend was a team player with several attributes that helped him stand out.

Rooney was not only an immaculate goalscorer but also someone who could press deep into his own half. Often rugged and confrontational, all that mattered to Rooney was that the final scoreline was in his team’s favor.

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A winner at heart and a fighter on the field, Rooney was also one of the most talented to ever step foot inside Old Trafford.

[Stats credit: mufcinfo]