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Football

Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick on his Man Utd debut 18 years ago today

Daniel Marland

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Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick on his Man Utd debut 18 years ago today

On this day in 2004, 18-year-old Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick on his Manchester United debut against Fenerbahce in the Champions League.

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Rooney joined United from Everton in a deal worth £27.5 million, a record fee for a player under 20 at the time.

The England striker suffered a broken metatarsal at Euro 2004 which prevented him from making his United debut for a month.

Sir Alex Ferguson knew Rooney would be able to handle the pressure on a cold Tuesday evening at Old Trafford and threw him into the starting XI.

With the world watching, Rooney produced a remarkable performance which included a goal with either foot and a lovely free-kick.

Ruud van Nistelrooy opened the scoring before Rooney coolly slotted home his first of 253 United goals.

He grabbed a second just before halftime with a long-range effort to catch out goalkeeper Rustu Recber.

Fenerbahce would get one back early in the second half, but Rooney catapulted himself to superstardom and made it 4-1 shortly after.

Cameras captured Rooney in deep conversation with veteran United winger Ryan Giggs seconds before taking the set piece. He showed more confidence at that moment than most do in their whole career.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Rooney naturally wanted the match ball to commend the occasion, but referee Frank De Bleeckere had other ideas.

"Can I have the ball?" he asked before De Bleeckere tried to stamp his authority on the situation.

He was met with a cold response of: "That's for me."

This made its way back to Ferguson, who was absolutely furious. He stormed up to De Bleeckere and made sure he got the ball back.

Rooney told the Guardian back in 2006: "I couldn't believe it. The manager just said, 'What? I'm not having that' and went off to see the ref. Next thing he's back with the ball and I couldn't thank him enough."

During 13 years at United, Rooney won five Premier League titles, three League Cups, the FA Cup, the Champions League, and the Europa League.

He became their record goalscorer in January 2017 and returned to Everton the following summer.

SPORTbible Stories is the brand-new podcast from the SPORT team at LADbible. The latest episode features a chat with WWE legend Triple H who opens up on his long in-ring career, his rivalry with The Rock during WWE's Attitude Era and Logan Paul's fledgling wrestling career. You can watch the episode here.

Featured Image Credit: BT Sport

Topics: Wayne Rooney, Manchester United, Champions League

Daniel Marland
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