Wayne Rooney’s childhood hero and former Everton forward Duncan Ferguson has named the Manchester United striker the “best player we’ve ever had” in the Premier League.
The duo played alongside each other when Rooney broke through at Everton, before he left to join Manchester United in 2004.
Rooney’s United career has seen him claim five league titles, scoring 193 goals along the way, placing him behind Alan Shearer in the Premier League all-time goal scoring list. At club level, the England man is four goals away from Sir Bobby Charlton’s United record of 249.
Ferguson, who scored 30 times in 123 appearances for Everton, is not surprised by Rooney’s glorious career, which is set to be celebrated at his testimonial game on Wednesday.
“I stayed behind after training one day to have a look,” Ferguson told the Daily Mirror. “Wayne was a substitute and came on and within 10 minutes he had scored two goals.
“I knew straight away there was something special about him. He had a great desire to get on the ball, he had great feet and he could ﬁnish.
“He also had the physicality and, of course, the talent. He was also fast and powerful so even at that age you could see he had everything you need to be a top, top player.
“He was the best 16-year-old footballer I had ever seen and still is, by the way. He would just get on the ball and run past people for fun.
“He was a tough kid from a tough area, but with a great sense of community. He had natural toughness and aggression and was made for the big stage.”
And with both his past and present club teammates coming together for Rooney’s testimonial, Ferguson went one step further, to claim that the England striker is second to none.
“Wayne Rooney is a lovely man, a family man,” Ferguson added. “He’s a totally trustworthy man, a great professional and, for me, he’s been the best player we’ve ever had in the Premier League.”
Rooney will have new teammates Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly on his side, while Everton manager Ronald Koeman is set to field Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku in his lineup.
New United boss Jose Mourinho is likely to name a strong team to take on Everton, as he prepares for his first competitive game on Sunday in the Community Shield against Leicester City at Wembley.
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