2013/14 English Premier League
The Manchester United striker has been firmly in the spotlight since making his Premier League debut for Everton at the age of 16 and first breaking into the England side aged 17. Much has been said about whether he has truly lived up to his potential but there is no doubt Rooney is still considered among the best in the world and he is arguably the finest English player of his generation.
Having worked his way through the Everton academy, a 16-year-old Rooney shot to the world's attention with a stunning goal against Arsenal in 2002 and showed skill beyond his years before Manchester United signed him for around 30 million pounds after the 2004 European Championship -- in which he had played a starring role, being named in the 23-man team of the tournament.
The powerful frontman made an immediate impact at Old Trafford with a hat-trick on his United debut -- a 6-2 Champions League victory over Fenerbahce in September 2004 -- and went on to help United to three straight Premier League titles between 2007-2009 and a Champions League title in 2008 -- collecting numerous personal awards along the way.
The 2009-10 season represented the pinnacle of Rooney's goalscoring career to date, as he plundered 34 goals in 44 games in all competitions for United, a feat that he later matched in the 2011-12 campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Real Madrid allowed Rooney to flourish as he became the focal point of the Old Trafford attack, and he spearheaded United's forward line in style. Rooney scored the winning goal in the 2010 League Cup final and although United missed out on domestic and European glory, he was rewarded for an impressive campaign with the PFA Players' Player of the Year Award. His stunning bicycle kick against Manchester City was named Best Goal in the Premier League 20 Seasons Awards.
In September 2008, Rooney became the youngest player in league history to make 200 appearances but after poor form and a tabloid scandal after the 2010 World Cup, he stunned the football world by releasing a statement saying he wanted to leave Manchester United. It took just three days for him to perform a U-turn though, as he committed his future to the club until 2015 amid a media melee, and his spot kick against Blackburn in May 2011 helped Manchester United claim a record 19th league title and usurp Liverpool as English football's most successful domestic side.
The England international surpassed Manchester United legend George Best in the all-time goalscoring charts when he netted a hat trick against Bolton at the start of the 2011-12 campaign and Sir Bobby Charlton's club-record haul of 249 goals is firmly within his sights. Rooney's free-scoring form earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Season for a third time in 2011-12 but he could not prevent the title heading to city rivals, Manchester City.
Rooney again lit up the back pages of the newspapers when he picked up a red card in England's crucial Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro in October 2011, ruling him out of the first two games of the finals. Although he scored in the final group stage match against Ukraine, Rooney's ability to perform on the international stage again came into question. However, two goals against San Marino in October 2012 made him England's fifth-highest all-time goalscorer and once again, Sir Bobby Charlton's haul of 49 is well within reach.
The arrival of Robin van Persie in the summer of 2012 often saw Rooney deployed in a deeper role during the 2012-13 campaign and despite featuring in 37 games over the season, he handed in a transfer request and refused to participate in Sir Alex Ferguson's last match at Old Trafford. Former coach David Moyes was burdened with the task of trying to hold on to the boisterous forward when he took over the reins at Old Trafford and he successfully managed to fend off the advances of Arsenal and Chelsea.
Strengths: Powerful and strong on the ball, Rooney's ability to pick a pass, shoot from distance and unselfishly work for the team is unparalleled in world football. His passion can never been called into question.
Weaknesses: He suffers when the red mist descends and has a propensity to lose his cool in key games. Sometimes an impetuous customer, prone to easy frustration.
Career high: His stunning debut hat-trick for Manchester United is a strong contender, but it cannot top being named as the best player in the country by his fellow professionals, as he scooped the PFA Players' Player of the Year Award in for the 2009-10 season.
Career low: Being sent off against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup quarterfinal for stamping on a rather delicate area of Ricardo Carvalho's, after working so hard to be fit for the tournament following a metatarsal injury.
Style: Powerful, hard-working, passionate; an unselfish superstar.
Quotes: "We all know football players at the top level are blessed with high wages, it's no secret. But Rooney would play for 100 euros-a-week. You can see the fire in his eyes. It's that fire which makes him the best of the best." Three-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi praises Rooney's passion.
Trivia: Rooney has "Just Enough Education To Perform" tattooed on his right forearm. The line is the title of an album by his favourite band, The Stereophonics.
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