Rooney reflects on a decade at the top
Wayne Rooney is aiming to have as much fun in his second decade as a Premier League player as he did in his first.
It is amazing to think 10 years have passed since Rooney made his top-flight bow as a raw 16-year-old for Everton against Tottenham. That Rooney should be heading back to Goodison Park to mark the occasion seems somehow fitting, even if the reception he gets from the supporters he has always considered himself one of is less than friendly.
With four Premier League titles and a Champions League winners' medal to show for his time at Manchester United, Rooney has no need to justify why he left the Toffees just two years after that debut. But he realises there is much more to achieve. He said: "I'm still fairly young. I feel young anyway. It's great to have played in the Premier League for 10 years."
Rooney continued: "It's an exciting league and I still feel exactly the same about my football as I did when I made my debut. It does feel like a long time ago, though. I just hope I can play for another 10 years and have as much enjoyment as I did in my first 10."
Rooney should get more pleasure now he can count last season's Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie amongst his team-mates. Van Persie's arrival has livened up the atmosphere around Old Trafford after three years of seeing all the marquee players land at Manchester City.
Not that everything is rosy for Sir Alex Ferguson amid reports that Rio Ferdinand is set for an extended period on the sidelines after picking up a training ground injury. With Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling also sidelined, Michael Carrick seems certain to partner skipper Nemanja Vidic in central defence.
It is hardly ideal ahead of a meeting with Everton. David Moyes' side have proved to be troublesome opponents over the last couple of seasons.
Of all people, Rooney knows exactly how Everton will be feeling ahead of their opening outing.
"It is a really tough first game," he said. "Over the last few years, Everton have not really started well in the league. But, as an Evertonian, I know, both growing up and playing for them, when Manchester United go to Goodison, the whole place is lifted and the fans make it far more difficult.
"That game last season probably did cost us the league, so we have an incentive to get the three points."