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Sunday, 20 October, 2002, 12:18 GMT 13:18 UK
Rooney wins Wenger praise
Everton striker Wayne Rooney
Rooney's strike shattered Arsenal's unbeaten
Arsene Wenger hailed Everton wonderboy Wayne Rooney as the greatest prospect in English football.

The 16-year-old struck a stunning 30-yard goal that shattered Arsenal's 30-match unbeaten league run.

Wenger admitted: "Rooney is the biggest England talent I've seen since I arrived in England.


We were beaten by a special goal from a very special talent.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

"There has certainly not been a player under 20 as good as him since I became a manager here.

"We were beaten by a special goal from a very special talent.

"I've seen a bit of him in recent months, his couple of goals on TV in the Worthington Cup, and when he came on to do so well at Manchester United recently.

"But you do not need to be an expert to see that he is a special talent, very special."

Rooney's majestic strike condemned the Gunners to their first league defeat since they lost to Newcastle at Highbury last December.

Wenger added: "This was our first league defeat in seven months and I would like to congratulate my team for that and offer them my utmost respect.

"We fought hard, but Everton also did for the full 90 minutes. They wanted to win with strength and power and not technique, but they were excellent.

"We always looked like scoring in the second half, except that our final ball wasn't good enough."


I felt with the space in front of Wayne that he had a serious chance to score
Everton boss David Moyes

Everton boss David Moyes described Rooney's winner as a "wonder goal" which lifted the Blues to ninth in the Premiership.

He said: "Thomas Gravesen did well to bring it down and give it to him, but the lad then faced up, attacked the defenders and hit it.

"Sometimes we have a bit of a go at him for trying unrealistic shots from that range.

"But this time I felt with the space in front of Wayne that he had a serious chance to score, and he did it pretty well."

Moyes added: "We have been playing with this conviction and confidence all season.

"This week I felt the confidence higher around the place than at any time since I've been here.

"We believed we had a chance to beat Arsenal, we didn't buckle when they scored early on and there was self belief right through the team."

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