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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 June, 2004, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Rooney, the boy I know

Wayne Rooney (right) celebrates with David Beckham
Former Everton youth development coach Colin Harvey is the man credited with nurturing the talent that is Wayne Rooney.

Here the England superstar's mentor gives his personal insight into working with a boy who was destined for greatness.

Wayne was about 11 when I first saw him.

And funnily enough he did exactly the kind of thing he produced for the third goal against Croatia - he ran from the halfway line, only that time he beat about four people before he scored.

He was always a big lad - not particularly tall, but he had this big build. He had big shoulders, big legs and was a great striker of the ball.

He had tremendous power. When he was about 13 I saw him hit the crossbar from his own half - it was a 70-yard shot that bounced back off the bar almost to the halfway line again.

One thing he never lacked was a bit of pace and power.

I've been asked before if he has a weakness in his game - and the only thing I can think of is something we've seen in Euro 2004, which is that all his shots have been right-footed.

I'm sure he'll work on his left side a bit - and once he does that he'll be world class.

He won't need coaching on it. It will just come to him and he'll suddenly start doing it.

He's just one of those players who you don't actually coach - the two people you blame for him are his mother and father, because they produced something extraordinary!

He's the best talent since Diego Maradona
Colin Harvey
You don't want to over-coach someone like Wayne Rooney. He has this wonderful knack of picking the right thing to do at the right time.

If you start trying to tell him what to do, you might mess him up a bit.

I'm sure nobody will try to do that - they'll just let him get on with it and improve so he can become a world class player.

I think he's got a little bit of a way to go before he's world class - but not very far at all.

I've heard he's being compared with Pele - but I personally think he's the best talent since Maradona because, believe it or not, I thought Maradona had a better all-round game than Pele.

I'm quite certain Wayne can go on to be talked of in those terms.

  • Colin Harvey was talking to BBC Radio Five Live's Peter Allen.

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