Wayne Rooney epitomises the potential of English football. Renowned for his technique and dynamic style of play, Rooney has been the face of the English game almost from the moment he exploded onto the scene with a stunning strike for Everton against Arsenal at just 16 and when he burst onto the international stage with England at Euro 2004.
In 2004, sir Alex Ferguson snapped up an 18 year old Rooney for £25.6 million pounds. It was the highest fee ever paid for a player under 20 years old at the time and Rooney has never looked back since.
These days, Rooney is a United veteran at just 29 but sits among the club's elite players. He is one of only four players to have scored 200 goals for Manchester United, placing him alongside fellow Reds legends Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Jack Rowley. Rooney was handed the captaincy by Louis Van Gaal in 2014 and he has shouldered the responsibility with maturity and bravery. Early in van Gaal's tenure, Rooney's technique and passing ability saw him deployed in an unfamiliar deep lying playmaker role. But he soon returned to lead the United forward line and the choice has paid dividends as he put in a series of inspirational performances in a season of struggle for the club.
Once seen as aggressive and brash in his early years, Rooney has been a constant in any England team and was named captain by Roy Hodgson ahead of Euro 2016. In recent qualifier away to the Slovenia on 14 June 2015, Rooney scored the winner with four minutes remaining for a 3–2 victory, his 48th international goal putting him joint second in England's list alongside Gary Lineker, and one behind Bobby Charlton.
It seems a matter of time before Rooney eclispes that record and then takes his place among the pantheon of true England greats.