A young Wayne Rooney celebrates his stunning winning goal against Arsenal in 2002
Saturday, October 21, 2017
Wayne Rooney was desperate to make history on the day he netted his famous strike against Arsenal in 2002 – but had been "fuming" about not making Everton's starting line-up for the game.
Having come off the bench, the Toffees forward became the Premier League's then youngest and first 16-year-old goalscorer by sending a superb late shot past David Seaman to seal a 2-1 home victory.
That was five days before Rooney's 17th birthday, and on Sunday – two days prior to his 32nd – he is set to play against the same opponents.
Regarding the match from just over 15 years ago, Rooney told The Everton Show: "I remember I was just buzzing to score my first league goal.
"I always remember thinking, 'I need to score in the Premier League before I am 17'. That was what I wanted to do, score when I was still 16 and that was the last chance I had to do it. Thankfully, Moyesy (then Everton boss David Moyes) brought me on and I got the winner.
"I was fuming before kick-off because I had played a couple of games before that and I thought I had done quite well and deserved to start.
"When I was 16 I was always confident, thought I was good enough to play and that was always part of my character as a football player – not being happy that I wasn't playing.
"Obviously when you look back you understand why they were doing it – to protect me and because of the fact you can't physically play 90 minutes of all the games.
"But I just wanted to get on the pitch and try to make an impact, and thankfully I did that day.
"It's still such an important goal for me in my career. It was a goal I will always remember."