Rooney the worry for Sir Bobby

Last updated : 12 September 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The teenager was on top form for England against Liechtenstein on Wednesday, demonstrating to everyone exactly why he’ll pose the biggest threat to our hopes of kick-starting the season on Saturday.

"Mr Rooney has given a performance that is not to be forgotten and the conqueror is coming back to the Coliseum, and it will be a big game,” said Sir Bobby.

"I thought Wayne Rooney was terrific against Liechtenstein. I think we - by which I mean this country - have a special specimen in the boy.

"Arguably, is there a better young talent anywhere in the world? Not in England or Europe but in the world?

"He's not yet 18, but his strength, his power, his ability to turn defenders. He's certainly got an old head on young shoulders. His positional sense is fantastic for a young kid. He seems to pop up everywhere that good players should pop up.

"He very rarely makes a mistake on the ball. He makes good decisions all the time for himself and for the team.

"He gave a wonderful performance and, jokingly, I thought Sven made an awful decision to take him off because I wanted him to keep him on and tire him out completely. But as it happens, it was a good decision by Sven for both club and country.

"I don't think that there's any doubt that Rooney will eventually take over Alan (Shearer)'s mantle in the England team.

"If the boy just continues working hard his game and keeps on being a good professional and doesn't think that he's there yet.

"Sometimes when you're that weight, you lack a bit of pace, but he's like an express train when he's in full flow.

"He's a very special player and we should be pleased we've got a player like him in the country. He's going to be there for 12 years at least. It's a marvellous diamond that Everton have unearthed, marvellous."