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On this day in 2004: Wayne Rooney enjoys dream Manchester United debut

·2 min read

Wayne Rooney marked his Manchester United debut in sensational fashion with a Champions League hat-trick against Fenerbahce on September 28, 2004.

Sir Alex Ferguson had been waiting for the teenager’s foot injury to heal before throwing him into action after paying Everton £27million for his services.

It took Rooney 17 minutes to open his account, firing in an unstoppable shot from just outside the box, and he grabbed his second 11 minutes later with another well-struck effort.

The 18-year-old saved the best for last, sending a free-kick flying into the net nine minutes after the break to complete his treble.

Ferguson tried to play down Rooney’s achievement afterwards, saying: “It’s a great start for him. That’s why we signed him as he’s got great potential.

“But I would rather talk about the game to be honest. He is only 18 and a young boy, don’t forget.

Ryan Giggs jumps on Wayne Rooney's back after his hat-trick goal
Ryan Giggs jumps on Wayne Rooney’s back after his hat-trick goal (Phil Noble/PA)

“He obviously tired in the last 20 minutes but, given that it was his first game since the European Championship, you could expect that. I think he can only get stronger.

“The important thing for me as a coach is to allow the boy to develop naturally without too much public attention. I want him to be as ordinary as he can.”

Hype was inevitable, of course, and Rooney remained the centre of attention throughout his 13 years at Old Trafford.

He became United’s record goalscorer with 253 goals before leaving the club in 2017.

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