Wayne Rooney turned the clock back on Wednesday night, scoring a hat-trick for Everton in a 4-0 demolition of West Ham.
Under the watchful eye of incoming Toffees manager Sam Allardyce (as well as former manager David Moyes in the opposite dugout), the 32-year-old took his tally for the season to eight in all competitions – the same number that he finished on in his final year at Manchester United.
While Rooney has obviously been on the decline for the past few years, that goal showed that he is still capable of moments of magic. The man himself thinks that it might be the best goal that he has ever scored – but, as can be seen belw, it has a lot of competition for that prize.
vs. Arsenal – 19th October 2002
“Remember the name: Wayne Rooney!”
The immortal words of ITV commentator Clive Tyldesley as then 16-year-old Rooney announced his arrival. Defending champions Arsenal came to Goodison Park defending a 30-game unbeaten run, but came away with that run in tatters as Rooney’s last-minute 30-yard curler beat David Seaman all ends up and gave English football a new shining star.
vs. Newcastle – 20th April 2005
Rooney’s Man United career got off to the best possible start with, with a Champions League hat-trick against Fenerbahce. He finished on a perfectly adequate eleven goals in his debut season, but none were as sweetly taken as his strike against Newcastle. Struck with ferocious venom from all of 30 yards, this goal (at the time) set the benchmark for the type of effort that the England international was capable of scoring.
vs. Manchester City – 12th February 2011
Just months earlier, Rooney had handed in a transfer request after a massive falling-out with Alex Ferguson. However, (some of) that was forgotten after he produced the most spectacular winning goal in a Manchester derby in living memory. Nani floated the ball into the box and, unable to get anywhere the ball with his head, adjusted his body and sent an audacious overhead kick screaming into Joe Hart’s top corner.
vs. Brazil – 2nd June 2013
England’s record goalscorer almost delivered what would have been a seriously impressive victory at the Maracana, but for a late equaliser from Paulinho. Rooney scored one of his best (and arguably most significant) goals at the famous Brazilian stadium in what was almost a carbon-copy of his Everton classic against Arsenal.
vs. West Ham – 22nd March 2014
The goal that seemed to awaken Rooney’s love of halfway line goals against West Ham. There were very few high points of the David Moyes era at Man United, but this goal was still truly special. The forward brushed off the (admittedly half-hearted) challenge from West Ham defender James Tomknins in the centre of the pitch before, spotting Adrian off his line, unleashed a powerful dipping half-volley that looped over the Spaniard.
vs. Stoke City – 21st January 2017
The day that Rooney finally broke Bobby Charlton’s record and became Man United’s all-time top scorer. By this time, goals were hard to come by for Rooney, so many assumed that he would simply float the ball into the box to find a teammate as Jose Mourinho’s side looked for a late equliser. Instead, he fired a thunderous free kick past Stoke keeper Lee Grant to give his side a share of the points – creating history in the process.
vs. West Ham – 29th November 2017
And so to the latest Rooney screamer. Joe Hart didn’t exactly cover himself in glory here, but the vision and technique involved from the goalscorer cannot be praised highly enough. This was not a simple lob, this was well-placed, well-timed, sailed over the West Ham defenders’ heads (and Angelo Ogbonna’s arm) and dipped into the net. Allardyce will definitely have been impressed with what he saw.
In this week’s episode of the Mixer Irish Football Podcast, we chat to David Cawley about his recent return to Sligo Rovers from Galway United, we look at the proposed promotion/relegation structure in the First Divison as well as recap all of the latest domestic news.