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Rooney's road to stardom
Around the Academy:

Wayne Rooney goes close to scoring for England
Everything's looking good in Wayne's world
The Academy award for best teenage striker in a full England debut goes to Wayne Rooney.

The 17-year-old produced a sparkling performance for England against Turkey, and followed it up with a vital goal for Everton in their 2-1 win over Newcastle.

It was proof that Rooney's talent is ready for the international stage, something many had predicted after his displays in the Premiership.

Domestically he has upstaged contemporaries Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, twice scoring wonder goals against Arsenal.

His second scene-stealing display against the Champions came, when he delivered a sensational solo effort at Highbury in March.

It was more evidence that the stocky kid from Croxteth, north Liverpool, is reading from a different script - and he certainly knows how to improvise too!

Wayne Rooney
Rooney is a rising star
Earlier in the season, Rooney had become the Premiership's youngest scorer after smashing in a shot from distance which left David Seaman stranded.

Rooney's journey from child star to understudy to leading man has been astonishing.

His talent was obvious from the moment he made a goalscoring debut for the local pub under-12's team.

Remarkably, he was just seven at the time!

Later, as a member of the Liverpool Schools under-11 side, Rooney amassed 72 goals and broke the team's scoring record.

Coach Tom O'Keefe said: "Wayne had such ability, he just went ahead and did his thing.

"We had Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman and Francis Jeffers come through the team and Wayne was clearly every bit as good."

In fact, Jeffers and Rooney both attended the De La Salle high school, which must now have an Ajax-like reputation for nurturing gifted players.

But the two, who are great mates, never managed to play together for Everton as Jeffers left Goodison Park for Arsenal before Rooney's breakthrough.

Wayne Rooney and Francis Jeffers
Rooney has already appeared on the international stage
The pair have, however, led the line for England - against Australia in February.

And Jeffers predicts "Rooney is going to be a regular for England - he has an extraordinary talent".

Rooney has shown mastery of his craft at every level - he scored eight goals in eight games in the FA Youth Cup last season.

At that stage he had only just graduated from Everton's academy.

But he didn't have to wait in the wings too long before manager David Moyes cast him in the first team.

The teenager has since ensured his name has gone up in lights and his reputation is wide-reaching.

He already receives the vocal equivalent of the red carpet treatment as adoring fans sing his praises.

Those fans now include the England faithful, who gave him a standing ovation as he left the pitch on Wednesday.

And there's a rumour of a new sign on the hills in Los Angeles, paying tribute to the hottest act in football.

Hooray for Rooneywood!


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Wayne Rooney factfile
Date of birth: 24 October, 1985
Place of birth: Liverpool
Age: 17
Teams: Everton, England
Squad number: 18
Premiership debut: August 17, Everton 2-2 Tottenham
First Premiership goal: 19 October, Everton 2-1 Arsenal
Full England debut: 2 April, 2003, v Turkey



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