You can take the boy out of Merseyside, but you can’t take Merseyside out of the boy.
While Wayne Rooney’s written many chapters since joining Man United in 2004, his first memories will always be of charging around Goodison Park.
In his early years he came up against Sir Alex Ferguson’s United sides on four occasions. So how did he get on against his current employers?
A first sighting
On 7 October 2002 Rooney travelled to Old Trafford for the first time in his senior career, although he had to settle for a place on Everton’s bench.
David Moyes called for his Croxteth-born wünderkid in the 74th minute, with the scores still tied at 0-0, and he instantly set about ruffling the feathers of Fabien Barthez, Gary Neville, Laurent Blanc and John O’Shea.
But with four minutes to play United broke Everton’s resistance. Two goals from Paul Scholes and a Ruud van Nistelrooy penalty gave Fergie’s team a 3-0, fairly undeserved, win.
Rooney’s first 16-minute encounter with United ended in frustration.
Throwing his weight around
Seven months later Rooney, now a full England international, was handed a start against a United defence of Roy Carroll, Wes Brown, Rio Ferdinand and Mikael Silvestre and O’Shea.
But Rooney’s fellow England colleague Brown’s game was over in the 40th minute after a typically robust challenge from the teenager.
Kevin Campbell gave Everton an early lead before goals from David Beckham and Van Nistelrooy turned the game on its head and meant The Toffees missed out on a Uefa Cup place.
Rooney could at least take consolation in the fact that he was the last player Lauren Blanc recieved a yellow card for fouling, with the Frenchman making his last career appearance.
Cristiano, meet Wayne’s studs
New season, same sinking feeling of defeat for Rooney and his Everton’s team-mates.
The match pitted two of Europe’s most highly rated youngsters against each other in Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, who lined up in United’s midfield alongside Nicky Butt, Kleberson and Quinton Fortune.
United won 3-2, with David Bellion scoring the winning goal, but one of the main talking points was Rooney’s challenge on Ronaldo that saw him booked and booed by the Old Trafford faithful.
Little did they know that only a few months later they’d be cheering every time he flied into a tackle.
Rooney, who was benched by Moyes, watched United take a 3-0 half-time lead after two goals from Louis Saha and a Van Nistelrooy strike.
He was brought on during the break and proceeded to help Everton pull three goals back, through David Unsworth, an own-goal from O’Shea and a Kevin Kilbane equaliser.
But these were the days of Fergie Time, when nothing was safe until the fat referee’s whistle blew, and a Van Nistelrooy 89th minute winner again gave United three points.
Four games, three different goalkeepers, one yellow card and no goals. Not that that stopped United spending £25.6million on the 18-year-old in the summer.