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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 August, 2004, 19:25 GMT 20:25 UK
Rooney's perfect move

By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

Everton striker Wayne Rooney
The initial 20m fee is remarkable but this is not an ordinary 18-year-old we are talking about
Alan Hansen
Wayne Rooney's move from Everton to Manchester United in a deal worth up to 27m has had a certain inevitability about it since his sensational performances for England in Euro 2004.

Much will be made of such a fee being paid for an 18-year-old, and make no mistake there will be a massive weight of expectation on the shoulders of one so young.

But when the dust has settled, I believe this is a good move for all parties involved - Rooney, United and yes, even Everton.

It is a remarkable transfer in some ways because when you pay 20m for a player, you do not buy potential you are buying someone to go straight on to the team-sheet.

And any normal 18-year-old might be snapped up for a relatively small fee, given games here and there, and then rested when required.

Not here. But then again we are not dealing with any normal 18-year-old.

We are dealing with a boy who was just explosive in Portugal and who has remarkable physical and mental strength for one so young.

He has shown he was afraid of nothing at international level and has the physical capabilities to cope with everything the modern game can throw at him.

Rooney is also blessed with the astonishing ability, again for one so young, to know where to go on the pitch, when and why. He is a natural.

Some people might question the wisdom of Sir Alex Ferguson spending up to 27m on a striker when he has Ruud van Nistelrooy, Alan Smith and Louis Saha at his disposal.

But Rooney showed at Euro 2004 that he can give you that something extra, which is what United need after not having the best of starts to the season.

It is clear United would probably have preferred to wait until January or maybe even next summer to get Rooney, but Newcastle's sudden interest has flushed them out and they have had to move now.

The swift response from Ferguson showed that this was a player he was simply not prepared to miss out on.

United look a shadow of the squad they were three or four years ago, when they were winning the Champions League.

The opposition used to look at their team-sheet and fear them.

Not now - but with the addition of Rooney to Saha, Smith and Van Nistelrooy, that fear factor might just return.

From Rooney's own point of view this sort of move may only come along once in a career. He may get injured or interest could be elsewhere in a year or so.

Sir Alex Ferguson
This was a player Sir Alex Ferguson was simply not going to miss out on
Alan Hansen

He could have a dip in form, and let's be honest, which player who has been at a club in Premiership mid-table would turn down a move to Old Trafford? Not many that I know.

From Everton's point of view they are getting a huge fee for an 18-year-old, a fee that could be reduced quickly if other factors such as injury, loss of form or his contract running down come into play.

It is not all a bed of roses for Rooney of course.

There is huge pressure on Rooney because he is not a teenager who will come in and people will wait for him to deliver - he is going to go into that team and be expected to make a real impact.

This is what a 27m fee does.

One thing is certain. It will be a lot harder for him to come into the Manchester United team now than it would have been if they had their side of four years ago. There will be much more expected and required of him now than there would have been then.

And from Rooney's own point of view, it is sad that he has been villified by supporters who idolised him, but Everton fans are understandably frustrated.

Time will heal, and Everton have made a very decent start to the season without their talisman.

But for Rooney, it's a massive opportunity and one he could not afford to pass up.

He will be under the guidance of Ferguson, who has been a master at developing young players.

It will be fascinating to see how this brilliant talent develops under the master manager.






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