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[18] Rio Ferdinand pays long tribute to Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United career

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  • [18] Rio Ferdinand pays long tribute to Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United career

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    from his facebook page

    "I have just seen this kid make a couple of seasoned England defenders look very basic, then nonchalantly dink the ball over/around the keeper....then jog back like it was some sort of regular playground mess about"
    That was during an England training session & the first time I had got to see this kid named Rooney... At the time there was a load of hype, and he didn't disappoint at all!
    I saw Wayne's family that week in the players lounge after the England game vs Turkey and told them to make sure they get Wayne over to Old Trafford asap - that's the kind of immediate impact he had on me. I wanted this ridiculous talent alongside me for years to come on a day to day basis!
    It happens, Wayne signs for Manchester United - I am over the moon... I'm buzzing knowing that this kid will scare not only defenders but all teams to death and yep he has just signed for us.
    Like a fan, his debut was an occasion us players all couldn't wait to see... why??
    A few reasons really
    1. Was he able to do it on the big stage for Man Utd
    2. Can he handle the pressure that comes with the £30m price tag & all the attention that comes with that
    3. Was he too young for all this
    4. Did he have the temperament.
    These were all valid questions of an 18yr old phenomenon.....and he answered them in explosive fashion with a hat trick on his debut vs Fenerbahçe - again Wayne took this in his stride like he was born to do this!
    I'd seen many quality & hyped kids coming through at West Ham United like Joe Cole, Carrick, Lampard, Defoe..and many more over the years since at Man Utd like Pogba, Ravel Morrison, Lingard etc but none of these guys could compare with Wayne in terms of being ready physically(built like a middleweight boxer from 10yrs old!!) & his in game maturity with a ball at his feet (awareness, decision making, finding space, and a work ethic that rubbed off on others).
    Even when Manchester United signed a £12m pound Portuguese wonderkid of a similar age by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne was still the more mature footballer at the time. Cristiano at the time more interested in showboating while Wayne was all about doing things to affect the game and fit in as a total team player.
    Obviously Cristiano worked that one out soon enough & went on to do all sorts!!!!
    But what I'm getting at is when you see hugely talented kids anywhere in the world you usually get a "what a talent this kid is, *but* " there's always a *but* but is he big enough, but is he strong enough yet, but is he quick enough, but can he pass it well enough, but can he score enough goals.... one of them questions if not more would have been aimed at the names I mentioned above around 18yrs old for sure - not Wayne Rooney. He ticked every box at 18 and that was the difference, he was a man at 18 & ready to take on the world on any football pitch!
    Don't get me wrong he wasn't perfect, he had a temper that needed keeping in check on & off the pitch & he was at the perfect club with the perfect manager to help him with that. From within the club there were no doubts as to whether this kid from Liverpool would go on to be a great at this great club in Manchester.
    There are so many moments I can go back to where he played a part in taking my breath away, like his overhead kick vs Manchester City, the lightening breakaway goal at Old Trafford with Cristiano vs Bolton, the volley vs Newcastle from way out, I could go on and on!!
    But above those great moments he produced when putting the ball in the back of the net was Wayne's humility, his willingness to sacrifice for the team, play out of position(left wing/right wing at times) because the manager said so.
    Also a huge part of his game was about a high intensity work ethic putting teams under pressure & his mentality that the team came first always. A truly unselfish footballer. He worked tirelessly after training on his shooting, doing it at match pace... none of this slow & chilled out shooting drills that you sometimes see players do - match tempo practice so when it came to games, he has seen them pictures daily on the training pitch & can execute more efficiently. He worked on his free kicks daily & his general ball striking.... None of these records get taken down without all that extra practice & focus so he deserves it all.
    Wayne done it his way & in doing that has broken long standing goalscoring records for both club & country, and will no doubt go down as one of the best players to wear Manchester United & England shirts.
    He was the best all round centre forward I played with & I played with some greats!
    Great player, great guy & great family man *but* terrible singer!!
    253 Goals For Manchester United
    53 Goals For England 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽
    Enjoy the next chapter mate at Everton Football Club... you are a Legend!”
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