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Monday, 21 October, 2002, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Rooney gets reality check
Everton striker Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney will stay at his beloved Everton

Everton's new teenage sensation Wayne Rooney was back on the streets of the city's Croxteth district with his friends hours after taking his place in history.

Rooney was elevated to hero status at Goodison Park in the time it took his searing 30-yard drive to beat David Seaman and end Arsenal's unbeaten Premiership run.

But as the media gathered outside the 16-year-old's house on a council estate to snatch pictures of English football's hottest property after Everton's 2-1 win, it was back to reality for Rooney.

And reality is life at home with father Wayne, mum Jeanette and younger brothers Graham and John - all fanatical Everton season ticket holders.

He is a product of Liverpool's De La Salle RC High School, which also counts former Everton striker Francis Jeffers and ex-captain Mike Lyons among their old boys.

Rooney's mum Jeanette is still a dinner lady at the school her son left with a collection of GCSE's last June.

And his allegiance to his beloved Everton is confirmed by one glance at his bedroom window, decorated with an array of club colours and a mock car licence plate bearing their name.

He is poised to turn 17, and will celebrate with the present of his dreams as he signs a professional contract with Everton.

Moyes will guide Rooney's future
Moyes will guide Rooney's future

The contract may be delayed as Rooney waits to sign up with new agents, where former Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish will be one of his advisers, but there is no doubt where he will start a potentially glittering career.

Rooney's heart is at Goodison Park, where he is regarded as the catalyst for a new era under manager David Moyes.

He has been coveted by every major club since it became clear that he was an extraordinary talent in the making.

But the overtures of clubs like Liverpool - where Rooney joined their junior training still wearing his Everton kit - were ignored.

And Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger could barely contain his admiration for Rooney after he inspired Everton's victory.

Bob Pendleton, the scout who recommended him to Everton, confirmed he attended "one or two" training sessions with Liverpool.

But he added: "It doesn't matter what they would have said to him, he wouldn't have gone there.

"His dad, Wayne senior, also said he wasn't going anywhere else - and he was also adamant he wasn't going to Liverpool."

Rooney was the Everton mascot in a derby game against Liverpool as an 11-year-old, with the picture still taking pride of place in the family home.

And when he scored in the FA Youth Cup Final against Aston Villa last season, he displayed a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Once a Blue Always a Blue".

It may be a boast he will have to reconsider in the years ahead as top clubs monitor his progress.

But for now Wayne's world revolves around Everton - and English football anticipates a brilliant new talent.

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