Wayne Rooney had two players in mind when he considered who he wanted to impress at the beginning of his time with Manchester United.
After deciding against potential moves to Chelsea and Newcastle, Wayne Rooney became the world’s most expensive teenager at the time when he put pen to paper on a switch from Everton to Man United in 2004.
Alex Ferguson made it very clear to the United board that Rooney was not a player he was prepared to miss out on and there was plenty of pressure on the striker when he signed for £26 million.
Rooney was already on good terms with a decent contingent of the United dressing room as he had already been capped by England and played with the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
But Rooney, who was recently named interim Derby manager, had two unfamiliar United legends he wanted to impress when he arrived at Old Trafford and it didn’t take long for him to do so with a hat-trick on his Red Devils debut.
“It might sound a bit big-headed but I knew I could come to Man United and be part of something special,” Rooney told the UTD Podcast.
“I knew I was good enough to play in this team and I could bring something different to the team.
“I wanted to work with Sir Alex Ferguson and play with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand, these players, so I knew where I wanted to go.
“I knew quite a few of the players. I knew Rio, Gary Neville, Scholesy, Phil Neville was here for a little bit, so I knew them from England. I think the main thing for me, I signed for the club because I wanted to play for Alex Ferguson.
“When I signed I had a broken foot so I couldn’t go straight into training with the players. But once I got training with the players, the main thing was impressing Giggsy and Roy Keane. I wanted to impress those two, not so much the manager.
“I know it sounds a bit strange but it was almost like I wanted to win them over. I wanted them to believe in me and feel I was good enough. That was my main thing I wanted to do. Obviously in my first game I think I did that. I settled in really quickly.”
(Originally published November 23, 2020).