Soccer News: “Remember this name!” – Is Rooney’s first goal in the Premier League more worth appreciating?

    “Remember the name… Wayne Rooney!”

    TV presenter Clive Tyldesley commented on many famous moments of the past years, and his excitement in this case was justified.

    Five days before his 17th birthday, Wayne Rooney came on as a late substitute for Everton at Goodison Park. The Toffees drew 1-1 with Arsenal, the reigning Premier League champions.

    Everton had only beaten Arsenal once in the previous 12 meetings, but on 19 October 2002 Rooney took the lead to set off a sensational stoppage time win and kick-start a career that propelled him to the top.

    Talk about terraces

    Rooney may have cemented his place at the forefront of English football on October 19, 2002, but the prodigy boy from the Liverpool suburb of Croxteth has been the talk of the town in the blue part of the city for some time now.

    “The first time I played with Wayne, he was 14,” Kevin Campbell recalled on Everton fan channel The Blue Room in 2021, after Rooney announced his retirement at age 35.

    “He had a great career, he was a fantastic England player, breaking records. He left his mark. I am pleased and proud to have played with him and to have been his captain.”

    Of course, no one could have foreseen the success Rooney would achieve. He is, after all, Manchester United and England’s all-time record holder, though Harry Kane could very well surpass Rooney’s 53 international goals in the upcoming World Cup. However, there was some hype around Rooney as he made his way through the ranks of Everton’s academy.

    “We knew where it was destined,” Campbell said. “We heard that a young guy who is doing well, Wayne Rooney, is passing.

    “When I finished playing with him [in the reserves], and someone said, “It’s Wayne Rooney,” I’m like, “This uniform is too big for him!” But wow, he made an impression on me, and that was two years ago. I went back to the guys and said: “Here comes this guy Rooney, he should be with us now.” As soon as he left school, he came in, one training session, and the guys were … jaws on the floor. Incredible talent.”

    Rooney moved to the bench towards the end of the 2001/02 season, and although his goal against Arsenal is memorable, he scored for the first time earlier in October, in a 3-0 win over Wrexham in the League Cup, scoring. twice.

    Eighteen days later, his time on the big stage came.

    A bolt from the blue

    Rooney’s full-fledged debut in the Premier League (of course known then as the Premier League) actually came on the opening day of the 2002-03 season, when David Moyes named him to the team to face Tottenham at Goodison Park. The match ended 2-2 with Rooney providing one of Everton’s assists.

    Further league appearances followed against Birmingham City and Aston Villa before his signature moment came when he became the competition’s youngest goalscorer.

    Freddie Ljungberg gave Arsenal the lead from the start, but Tomasz Radzinski equalized 14 minutes later.

    David Seaman – days after he lost to Macedonia’s Artim Sakiri right around the corner in his last England cap – turned down Thomas Gravesen twice while Everton saddled their luck on the other end.

    It was Gravesen’s push forward in the closing moments that then effortlessly brought down Rooney.

    With precocious control, Rooney stopped the looping ball over his shoulder, softening it with his right foot to dodge the two Arsenal defenders who stepped back.

    Rooney’s first touch sent a feeling of awe to the faithful at home. His second allowed him to evaluate his possibilities. By the time he picked up his third ball – this one is a little heavier to give him a run – he had already made up his mind and prepared to swing his right boot from 25 yards, just left of center.

    Moments later, Simen was on his knees, the back of the net swaying as the ball bounced back to the ground, catching on the underside of the crossbar on its way to goal. Rooney was rolling away, and commentator Tyldesley is about to say those famous words.

    Goodison Park was delirious, shaking all the way to the wooden rafters. The Grand Old Lady is rocking the new darling of English football.

    Remember the purpose, not just the name

    Of course, Rooney has scored so many goals it’s hard to pick his best – one goal from his half for United against West Ham comes to mind (he also scored a similar goal against the Hammers in his second spell at Everton). “). like a superb solo goal against Leeds United shortly after his Arsenal victory, his outrageous volley against Newcastle United after an angry tirade against the referee, and a stunning cycling kick in the 2011 Manchester derby.

    But will his first Premier League goal get the recognition it deserves?

    The poise, vision and control that Rooney showed with his first two touches was a demonstration of the natural talent he possessed. Shortly before graduation, Rooney’s prowess would not have looked out of place if he had played in opposite colors that day for a team that would become the Invincibles next season.

    There is also the arrogance and confidence to look up and, with Arsenal’s formidable defense of Lauren, Saul Campbell, Pascal Saigan and Ashley Cole in front of England’s best goalkeeper for 15 years ahead of him, decide to go for goal. .

    The odds were clearly against Rooney. Expected head count data is not available for this purpose, but you can assume it won’t matter much.

    Shortly thereafter, with Everton looking to finish the game, Rooney actually almost improved on his breakout goal, knocking Seaman down from almost 30 yards, once again showing an exuberance of youth mixed with world-class quality.

    The Toffees used the victory as a springboard, the first in a run of six consecutive wins, all by one goal, with Rooney scoring the only goal for Leeds. However, the teenager didn’t start another top-flight game until December as Moyes tried to live up to expectations and contain pressure on the boy, Campbell said, destined for greatness.

    Rooney’s name will be remembered among the best, he took care of it. But the goal that started it all also deserves to be remembered as one of the best.

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