Going into the Euro 2004 tournament which held in Portugal, I was of the opinion as always that it was England’s year to nick the European Championship. They were paired with France, Croatia and Switzerland in Group B.
I usually have issues with throwing youngsters into the fold for a big tournament but after seeing what Wayne Rooney did to David Seaman of Arsenal when Everton hosted them at Goodison Park during the 2003/04 season I had a change of heart. As expected Michael Owen was in line to lead the English attack at the tournament due to his experience and having had 3 major tournaments (France ’98 World Cup, Euro 2000 held in Belgium and Holland and the Korea/Japan 2002 World Cup) under his belt. I didn’t expect Rooney to start the first game against France because experienced players like Emile Heskey and Darius Vassell (both of which hardly get to score goals though) were also in the squad. Rooney started the game and though England lost 2-1 I was happy with the display of enthusiasm from Wayne Rooney for the 76 minutes he was on for.
My boy Rooney bagged a brace in the next game against Switzerland and Steven Gerard one of the culprits that caused the loss to France no thanks to his silly back pass which led to Zinedine Zidane’s 1st goal also scored a goal to give England a 3-0 win. Rooney was named man of the match in that game. England beat Croatia 4-2 in the final group game and my boy Rooney stepped up again with another brace with Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes bagging the other goals. Who was named man of the match? It was Rooney again of course. At that time I was already hoping Sir Alex Ferguson would sign him.
The quarter final game would have been won if Wayne Rooney had not been hurt. England had taken the lead in the 3rd minute through Michael Owen before Rooney damaged his metatarsal in the 24th minute or there about. The most dangerous man on the pitch was off and this helped Portugal get back into the game though I blame the English side for always trying to defend against the big teams whenever they are a goal up. Portugal equalized in the 83rd minute through Helder Postiga and took the lead in the 20th minute of extra time through Rui Costa before England pulled one back thanks to Frank Lampard in the 115th minute. England lost on penalties and it was because Rooney wasn’t on the pitch.
Rooney proved himself at the tournament scoring 4 goals in 4 games and he was only 18. In what I will call the biggest coup in premier league history pulled off by the great Sir Alex Ferguson, Wayne Rooney became a RED DEVIL in a deal worth 27 million pounds. On this day (31/08/2004) 10 years ago he signed for Manchester United. Yes I know I have been pissed at him (Remember the 2 transfer requests) but his love for the game cannot be questioned. A passionate player and one of the best I have ever seen. He was also just recently named captain of Manchester United and England too.
Since the departure of Ruud Van Nistelrooy at least one of my Manchester United jerseys must read the number 10 worn by Rooney behind it and it will stay that way till he leaves/retires.
Thanks for your time people and do have a fantastic week ahead……………… BLESS!!!
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