Exactly 17 years ago today, Wayne Rooney scored one of the most iconic goals in Premier League history against Arsenal.
The 16-year-old had broken through at Everton at the back end of the 2001/02 season.
David Moyes had used Rooney sparingly to start the 2002/03 campaign and put Rooney on the bench for their clash against Arsenal at Goodison Park.
Arsenal were on a 30-game unbeaten run in the Premier League and were on course to extend that to 31 games when Freddie Ljungberg struck just after half-time.
Tomasz Radzinski equalised 15 minutes later but Moyes sent on Rooney with 10 minutes remaining to try and get a winner.
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And he repaid his manager’s faith with a quite incredible goal.
Thomas Gravesen punted a hopeful ball forward, which was brilliantly controlled by Rooney.
The Croxteth-born striker then turned towards goal and unleashed an unstoppable effort from 25-yards out that cannoned in off the bar.
Watch Rooney’s goal vs Arsenal below:
“Remember the name, Wayne Rooney!”
What a way to introduce yourself to English football. With that finish, Rooney became the youngest goalscorer in Premier League history.
Unfortunately for Everton, they couldn’t keep hold of their prized asset for long.
He submitted a transfer request two years later, eventually joining Manchester United for £30 million.
He would spend 13 successful seasons in Manchester before re-joining his boyhood club.
In 2017, Rooney spoke about that iconic goal against Arsenal.
“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,” Rooney told The Everton Show, per the Liverpool Echo.
“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.
“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 brought me on and I got the winner.”