The former Everton midfielder was at Goodison Park when a modern-day great burst on the scene and admits to getting seen potential early.
Wayne Rooney, Manchester United and England’s all-time top goalscorer, had everyone thinking he’d be”special” at the moment he burst on the scene in Everton, says Leon Osman.
An exciting teenage talent declared himself to the world when scoring a gorgeous Premier League campaign for the Toffees against Arsenal in October 2002.
Rooney was only 16 at the time, but he was registering on the radar of those about him at Goodison Park for a while before his senior breakthrough.
Osman formed part of this fold at that time and says that he always knew that a guy who has gone on to cement a position as a modern-day good was destined to achieve the very top.
“From the minute he walked to the training ground you knew that he was going to be special,” Osman told The Sportsman.
“Already, physically developed; I am four or five years older than him and he was bigger and stronger than me so you knew he was going to be a participant. When he was 14, there were videos moving round of absurd things he was doing in childhood cup matches.
“One of those minutes you go out before training to get warm, players using a chuckle and passing the ball and Wayne would only charge out and claim he is likely to hit the crossbar in the halfway point, something I could not believe about, and he took it, hit the bar and you think’Who is this kid here?! No chance, that is a fluke.’ Then he did it again, twice on the run. Who’s this kid?”
Rooney would take in 77 senior looks for Everton before procuring a #25 million ($29m) proceed to United in the fall of 2004.
A record-breaking haul of 253 goals was listed with the Red Devils while taking his tally of England attempts up to 53 in 120 international excursions.
Osman insists those exploits came as no surprise for him, with a fellow product of the Toffees’ academy system stating: “No, none whatsoever.
“There was a disappointment, we could not keep him at Everton more than we did, but he has gone on to become Manchester United’s all-time scorer, he is England’s present record goalscorer, he was constantly going to achieve things.”
Rooney is back in English football with Championship side Derby having taken in Another stint in Everton and a productive 18-month spell in MLS with D.C. United after leaving United in 2017.