What Manchester United looked like before Wayne Rooney?

Sir Alex Ferguson made Wayne Rooney the most expensive teenager of all time when he signed the striker from Everton for around £30m in 2004. Where did Manchester United stand before the England International joined the Old Trafford side?

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: July 10, 2017 7:34 pm
wayne rooney, rooney, manchester united, united, red devils, manchester united before Wayne Rooney, FA Cup, premier league, sports news, indian express Wayne Rooney with manager Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford in 2004. (Source: Reuters)

Wayne Rooney has joined his boyhood club Everton after giving 13 crucial years of his career to the Old Trafford side Manchester United. In these years, Rooney has helped United in their campaign by winning five Premier League titles (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013), FA Cup (2016), League Cup (2006, 2010, 2017), Champions League (2008) and Europa League (2017).

Rooney has given the Red Devils numerous occasions to celebrate him, the latest being when the England International became the leading goal scorer for the club. Sir Alex Ferguson made Rooney the most expensive teenager of all time when he signed the striker from Everton for around £30m in 2004.

A year before Rooney signed for United, United was playing their 12th season in the Premier League. The club was being led by Ferguson, the most celebrated manager, who won the Old Trafford side 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League crowns.

Despite the absence of Rio Ferdinand, who was serving an eight-month ban, the Red Devils were crowned the FA Cup and Community Shield champions in 2003-2004 season. It was the club’s eleventh FA Cup win after they defeated Millwall 3-0 at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

They stood third that season in the Premier League but ended their European Cup and League Cup dreams in the last 16.

Ruud van Nistelrooy was the leading goal scorer in 2003-2004 season while Cristiano Ronaldo was the latest talent discovered. Among the key midfielders were Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher with Diego Forlán, Ronaldo, Nistelrooy in the front. Tim Howard guarded the goalpost back then with Gart Neville, Wes Brown, John O’Shea and Phil Neville at the defence.

That was a different era of Manchester United after which Rooney became the Red Devils’ hero. He has now left for his former club after getting only limited chances to make appearances this season under manager Jose Mourinho.

United won the Europa League this season after beating Ajax in the final, ensuring them a Champions League spot next season. They, however, ended their league season at sixth position. As Rooney drew curtains on his United stint, the question now arises of where the club is headed.

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