Manchester United legend Gary Neville has revealed the arrival of Wayne Rooney was the most exciting signing during his time as a player at Old Trafford. Rooney joined United from Everton in 2004 aged 18 for a fee of £27million.
The forward had already made a name for himself before joining United by becoming the Premier League’s youngest ever goalscorer with a memorable long-range effort for the Toffees against Arsenal.
Rooney had also broken into the senior England squad, where he played alongside Neville.
He went on to become a United great and remains the club’s leading goalscorer of all time with 253 goals.
And appearing on Sky Sports’ Off Script podcast, Neville declared Rooney as the most exciting signing he witnessed at United.
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“Wayne Rooney, Wayne Rooney’s probably No 1,” Neville said.
“I played with him with England and I knew what we were getting.
“We were getting a world-class player and fearless and horrible and everything that you’d want in a football player.
“Goals, tackling, running, endeavour, grit, everything that you’d want in a football player.
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“So he was the one that excited me.”
Neville also had a word for striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who he quickly realised would be a top signing.
Van Nistelrooy joined from PSV Eindhoven in 2001 after scoring 77 goals in 90 appearances for the Dutch side.
Neville added: “Ruud van Nistelrooy was the one that when I first saw him training in the first few days, I remember us doing a shooting session over the back pitches at Carrington and I remember him striking one from about 20 yards and thought ‘Oh, oh he can score goals this kid’.”
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Neville also gave an insight into the transfer policy of legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
“His policy was to promote youth wherever possible, that was number one before he even looked at the external market,” Neville said.
“Number two was to look at the best in the Premier League, those he could trust, and still have growth and be with the club for a long time.
“Gary Pallister, Steve Bruce, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Robin van Persie.
“And then he always wanted emerging international talent that could come over to Manchester, that he could work with and develop into great players.
“Nemanja Vidic, Peter Schmeichel, Patrice Evra, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.”
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