Wayne Rooney: Captain of England tells the action-packed story of one boy's journey from the streets of Croxteth to one of the biggest stages in world football. This heartwarming book tracks Rooney's fairytale rise from child superstar to Everton hero to Manchester United legend.
Tom Oldfield is a freelance sports writer and the author of biographies on Cristiano Ronaldo, Arsene Wenger and Rafael Nadal. Matt Oldfield is an accomplished writer and the editor-in-chief of football review site Of Pitch and Page.
|Publisher:||John Blake Publishing, Limited|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||236 KB|
|Age Range:||9 - 12 Years|
About the Author
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Captain of England Wayne Rooney
By Tom Oldfield, Matt Oldfield
John Blake Publishing LtdCopyright © 2015 Tom and Matt Oldfield
All rights reserved.
OLD TRAFFORD'S NEW HERO
'Roo-ney! Roo-ney! Roo-ney!'
It was the sound of 75,000 fans chanting his name. Wayne just stared straight ahead down the tunnel. His heart was beating fast – in fact, it had been pounding since he put on the famous red Manchester United shirt in the dressing room ten minutes earlier. It was a long time since he had felt this nervous about playing football. But then this wasn't just any game.
It was 28 September 2004 and he was just minutes away from the start of his United career. Where was the referee? 'Come on, let's go,' he muttered to himself.
That night's game against Turkish giants Fenerbahce in the Champions League was the start of a new chapter for Wayne. He was following in the footsteps of George Best, Bobby Charlton, Eric Cantona, Bryan Robson and so many other United legends. Now Wayne would have the chance to add his name to that list.
As he thought about his whirlwind journey from the streets of Croxteth in Liverpool to the Theatre of Dreams, he smiled to himself. He had started his first Premier League game for Everton just two years ago and now he was about to make his debut for one of the biggest clubs in the world. The hairs on his neck stood on end.
A broken bone in his foot had delayed his debut and United had begun the new season without him. But all anyone wanted to know was when Wayne would be back. When would United fans get their first glimpse of the teenage sensation who had cost £30 million that summer? And how would he top his incredible performances at Euro 2004?
Wayne wanted to make up for lost time. His foot had been fine in training this week and he just hoped that there would be no pain once he put it to the test in a real game.
As crowds of United fans walked down Sir Matt Busby Way that night, there was a different buzz in the air. Wayne would be making his debut and they were going to share in that experience. Many of them already had 'Rooney' on the back of their United shirts.
Just before the teams took to the pitch, Ryan Giggs walked up to Wayne and patted him on the back. Maybe he could sense the newcomer's nerves. 'Don't put too much pressure on yourself tonight. Just enjoy it – you only get to make your Manchester United debut once!'
He winked then shook Wayne's hand. 'The club's going to be in your hands some day soon. This is where it all begins for you.'
Finally, the waiting was over. Wayne took a deep breath and stretched his neck to one side and then the other. Showtime.
As he walked across the Old Trafford turf, the Champions League anthem blared out and caught Wayne by surprise. It was the first time he had heard it for one of his games. It always gave him goosebumps when he heard it on television but it was a hundred times better in person. That's why I had to make this move, he reminded himself.
He jumped up and down and did some final stretches, and as he did so, he spotted his family in the crowd among the sea of red shirts. His fiancée, Colleen, was there with them. They were waving and cheering. The last two months had been difficult for the whole family and he was happy that they were with him tonight as he put on the United shirt for the first time.
Wayne's decision to leave his former club Everton had shaken the blue half of the city. He had been called Judas, a traitor and a greedy kid. Wayne would always love Everton. They had believed in him and given him a chance to shine. But he just had to take this next step.
The Old Trafford crowd was so noisy, he didn't realise that his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, was on the touchline and wanted a final word with him. Now aware of him, Wayne ran over. 'You were born to play on this stage, Wayne,' Ferguson said. 'Give these defenders the worst night of their lives. The fans want to see something special, so give them a show to remember.'
The football pitch was always where Wayne felt most at home. As he reached the centre circle for the kick-off with new strike partner Ruud van Nistelrooy, his nerves were replaced with excitement. After all, football had been part of his life from the very start.CHAPTER 2
A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME
The Rooneys didn't believe in small parties. A real celebration meant inviting all the cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, friends, friends of friends and so on. And Wayne's first birthday in October 1986 was no different.
The planning had started months in advance – finding a date that everyone could make, sending out the invitations, choosing the decorations and the games, and picking the music.
The last item on the list was the birthday cake and Jeanette, Wayne's mother, rushed to pick it up at the local bakery on the morning of the party.
'Don't worry – it's all ready,' the bakery manager
said, seeing the door swing open and sensing her panic. He ducked below the counter and reappeared with a square white box. In dramatic style, he pulled back the lid to reveal a large blue cake. He looked at Jeanette for a sign of approval.
Jeanette smiled. 'It looks delicious,' she said.' Perfect for an Everton fan.'
'Great – I'll just put "Happy Birthday, Wayne!" on the top and then it's all yours.'
Jeanette paused. 'Oh, actually, could you make it "Happy Birthday, Little Wayne!"'
The manager laughed. He was well aware that the Rooney tradition was to give the father's name to the first-born son. 'Good point. You don't want Big Wayne thinking it's for him!'
Jeanette made it home safely with the cake. The aunts and uncles were already there, blowing up balloons and hanging decorations from the curtain rails. The cousins were keeping Little Wayne entertained upstairs so that it would be a surprise – not that he really understood that today was his birthday anyway.
Jeanette saw lots of people in the house but her husband was nowhere to be found. She started to worry. He had been there when she left. Luckily, her sister had an update:
'Big Wayne just called. He'll be back in a minute. He's just picking up that secret present he can't keep quiet about.'
That's a relief, thought Jeanette. She checked her watch. She needed his help with a whole list of jobs before the rest of the guests arrived. And she was eager to find out what this mystery present was – all she knew was that her husband had spotted it recently with his friends.
Ten minutes later, Big Wayne rushed into the kitchen, out of breath. 'Okay, all sorted. Let's get this party started!'
Jeanette explained which jobs were still on her list and then headed upstairs to get Little Wayne dressed. She was pleased to find her son sitting on the floor playing quietly with a tennis ball. It was rare to see him so still rather than scrambling around. He didn't even complain when she changed him out of his pyjamas and into his outfit for the day. Some would have picked out a shirt and trousers for this special occasion, but not the Rooneys. Football would always be number one in this household and there was only one thing suitable for today – his tiny Everton kit.
Finally, the preparations were over and the party could begin. It seemed like the Rooneys had taken over the street for the day, with cars parked everywhere. Family and friends filled the lounge and kitchen, and everyone wanted a glimpse of the birthday boy.
The party was a huge success. The music, the games, the food – it was all exactly as Jeanette had planned. Little Wayne was on his best behaviour, charming everyone with his cheeky grin, complete with six little teeth.
As Jeanette handed out plates of birthday cake and bowls of jelly and ice cream, her mind was already turning towards the big clean-up after the guests had left.
But the party wasn't over yet. A big pile of presents sat unopened on the kitchen table – that was the advantage of having so many aunts, uncles and cousins. Jeanette was one of nine children; Big Wayne was one of eight. It looked like Little Wayne would need a new toy chest. She was glad that they had moved out of their flat and into this house earlier in the year.
Big Wayne couldn't wait any longer. He picked up a long, thin package with blue-and-white wrapping paper: the mystery gift.
'Time for presents!' he announced, with a big smile. 'He has to open this one first.'
Big Wayne dropped the package gently into his son's lap as everyone pulled their chairs forward to form a tight circle around the birthday boy. Little Wayne stared at the wrapping paper and then grabbed clumsily at the edges. Big Wayne crouched down next to his son and helped him undo the pieces of sellotape.
'This is so you'll never forget that you're a blue for life,' Big Wayne said, lifting the present so his son could see it.
It was an Everton sign, in the shape of a car licence plate. Little Wayne was curious. He reached forward and ran his little fingers along the bumpy surface, perhaps recognising the club crest from all the Everton banners and decorations around the house. His next instinct was to put the sign in his mouth – but Big Wayne moved quickly to stop him.
'You don't want to eat that, little man. You'll crack your teeth!'
Little Wayne giggled.
Jeanette had been standing in the doorway, keeping one eye on Little Wayne as he opened the package and the other on her husband's proud reaction. Now she joined the crowd in the lounge. It had been an eventful year but with every milestone Jeanette felt so lucky. An illness as a child had left her fearing that she would never have children. But then Little Wayne came along.
She was stirred from her daydream by a friendly hand on her shoulder. 'So, he's an Everton fan, then?' her sister asked with a smile.
'As if there could be any other choice!' Jeanette replied, laughing.
One-by-one, the presents were passed forward. Father and son worked together to open each one – but Little Wayne's eyes rarely left his new Everton sign.
An hour later, the guests had gone and the house was quiet again. Little Wayne yawned loudly and rubbed his eyes. 'Bedtime for you – you've had a tiring day,' Big Wayne said, scooping his son out of his playpen and carrying him up the stairs.
He brought the sign with him. Once the birthday boy was in his cot and drifting off to sleep, Big Wayne propped the sign up on the window sill – out of reach but where his son could always see it.CHAPTER 3
VACUUM TO THE RESCUE
At the Rooneys' three-bedroom house on Armill Road in Croxteth, Wayne got his own room. It made him feel very grown up. He had his own wardrobe, a little bookcase and a chest full of toys. He soon had two little brothers to play with as well – first Graeme and then John.
Even in his earliest years, things came easily for Wayne. He was good at every sport he tried, he showed natural ability at school and he had lots of friends.
But at night he felt lonely and scared. He didn't really understand why. Night after night, he would end up coming into his parents' bed. He couldn't sleep in his room. Sometimes he claimed there was a ghost; sometimes it was a monster under the bed or a werewolf hiding in the darkness. Even his Everton things – his lampshade, his duvet-cover and, of course, the sign on the window sill – couldn't calm his nerves.
'He tries to fall asleep, he really does,' Jeanette told her sister one morning. 'We've tried all kinds of things but it's as if his brain just won't switch off. Then we hear the little patter of footsteps and our bedroom door swings open.'
'Oh dear, poor little lad. Hopefully it's just a phase he's going through. We went through something similar with our little ones.'
'Let's hope it's that. We're trying not to panic too much. Plus, last night was better – Wayne kept the light on and had the television on quietly as well. That seemed to help him. But he'll need to get used to sleeping in the dark at some point.'
Remarkably, despite this lack of sleep, Wayne never felt tired during the day. Every morning he ran down the stairs full of energy, as if the sleepless nights never happened. He never used it as an excuse to miss school, and it never slowed him down during the lunchtime football games in the playground. He lived for those games, and he would sit in class counting down the minutes until the bell rang.
Then one afternoon, Wayne found an answer to his sleeping problem. Jeanette had decided that the house needed a good clean, from top to bottom, and a quiet weekend was the perfect opportunity. She and Big Wayne cleaned, polished and mopped all morning. Before long, the kitchen counters were sparkling and the floor was spotless. Time to clean upstairs, Jeanette decided.
She climbed the stairs and brought the vacuum cleaner with her, plugging it in on the landing. For once, Wayne wasn't out playing in the street with his mates. Instead, he was lying on his bed, bouncing a little football off the ceiling and humming to himself.
As Jeanette started hoovering the landing and the entrance to the bathroom, Wayne's eyes gradually felt heavier and heavier. The sound of the vacuum was soothing and he closed his eyes. Two minutes later, he was fast asleep. Jeanette smiled when she peeked into Wayne's bedroom and heard her son snoring.
Wayne didn't understand at first. He thought he had just fallen asleep because he was so tired. Why would he think it was anything else? When he took another long afternoon nap a week later while his dad was hoovering downstairs, Wayne realised that the vacuum was the secret to his deep sleep.
It quickly became part of his routine. After school, he would play football with his mates until it got dark. When it was time for bed, he would plug in the vacuum and drift off to sleep to the sound of his special lullaby. Hairdryers worked as well. Just any kind of background noise that whooshed or buzzed seemed to do the trick. Jeanette and Big Wayne didn't know what to think. They'd never heard of anything like this before. But they weren't complaining.
'Whatever works for you, Wayne,' Jeanette said. 'It's wonderful to see you sleeping more. But one of these days I want you to actually use the vacuum to clean up your room. That's what it's for, after all!'
Before long, the rest of the family had heard all about Wayne's new habit. His cousins thought it was very funny and they teased Wayne about it. Sometimes they would turn on a hairdryer and see if it made him sleepy. 'Don't fall asleep, Wayne,' they would say as they plugged it in.
The noise at night was a small price to pay for Wayne getting more sleep. It didn't seem to disturb Graeme or John, who shared the bedroom next to his. 'Thank goodness we gave Wayne his own room,' Jeanette said to her husband. 'Imagine if one of the other boys was trying to sleep in the room as well! We'll probably sleep better too if Wayne's not climbing into our bed in the middle of the night.'
Big Wayne smiled. 'That's true. I guess that vacuum keeps the ghosts and monsters away! But I'll be worried if we're still having this conversation when he's eighteen!'CHAPTER 4
A BALL TO TREASURE
Wayne jumped out of bed when he heard the doorbell. He never wanted to miss a minute of Uncle Eugene's visits. When his uncle came to the house, it usually meant presents – and he always saved the best ones for Wayne.
'How's my little champ?' his uncle asked as Wayne flew down the stairs and leapt into his arms.
'Got any sweets?' Wayne asked, flashing a cheeky grin.
Uncle Eugene laughed. He searched his pockets and handed Wayne half a packet of Fruit Pastilles. 'Don't tell your mum!' he said, looking around to check the coast was clear. 'She'll blame me when you have to go to the dentist.'
Wayne's brothers, Graeme and John, raced into the room. The three boys were all in Everton pyjamas and looked more alike than ever. Like Wayne, his siblings didn't want to miss out on presents. They put on big smiles and huddled closer.
'Don't worry, I've got presents for all of you,' Uncle Eugene said, reaching into one of the bags that he had brought with him. 'I always take care of my favourite nephews.'
He handed small parcels to Graeme and John. As they ran to the kitchen to open them, they shrieked with excitement and kept bumping into each other. Then Uncle Eugene turned to Wayne, with a bigger bag in his hand. 'I've got something extra special for you. I know you love football so I thought it was about time that you had one of these. Every six-year-old should have one!'
Wayne grabbed the bag and glanced inside. His eyes were wide open in disbelief.
'A proper ball – a leather one!' he squealed, running over for a hug. It was the new Mitre ball, just like the one the professionals played with. 'Thanks, Uncle Eugene. I've got to show my mates.' He turned to run away.
'Hang on, Wayne,' Uncle Eugene called. 'The ball comes with one condition – the first time you use it, it has to be at the park with me. I want to see it in action.'
Excerpted from Captain of England Wayne Rooney by Tom Oldfield, Matt Oldfield. Copyright © 2015 Tom and Matt Oldfield. Excerpted by permission of John Blake Publishing Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 – OLD TRAFFORD'S NEW HERO,
CHAPTER 2 – A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME,
CHAPTER 3 – VACUUM TO THE RESCUE,
CHAPTER 4 – A BALL TO TREASURE,
CHAPTER 5 – THE GEMS,
CHAPTER 6 – CATCHING THE EYE,
CHAPTER 7 – BECOMING A BLUE,
CHAPTER 8 – MASCOT MISCHIEF,
CHAPTER 9 – A FAMILY MOMENT TO REMEMBER,
CHAPTER 10 – ADAPTING IN DALLAS,
CHAPTER 11 – AN INJURY NIGHTMARE,
CHAPTER 12 – MOYES'S MAGIC WORDS,
CHAPTER 13 – IN DREAMLAND WITH COLLEEN,
CHAPTER 14 – FIRST STEPS IN THE FIRST TEAM,
CHAPTER 15 – BECOMING AN INSTANT HERO,
CHAPTER 16 – CHEWING HIS WAY INTO TROUBLE,
CHAPTER 17 – ENGLAND'S NEWEST SUPERSTAR,
CHAPTER 18 – JOY AND PAIN AT EURO 2004,
CHAPTER 19 – TIME FOR A FRESH START,
CHAPTER 20 – A DREAM DEBUT,
WAYNE ROONEY'S HONOURS,
Also by Tom and Matt Oldfield,