Wayne Rooney has been named the best Premier League player ever by his boyhood hero Duncan Ferguson – whom he played with at Everton.
Rooney would later sign for Manchester United in 2004, where he plays and captains to this day, and ahead of his testimonial on Wednesday, Ferguson has named him the Premier League’s best.
The former Everton forward has won five Premier League titles at United and scored 193 league goals – placing him behind only Alan Shearer in the all-time list – one of which was voted the best goal of the era when he scored a bicycle kick against Manchester City in 2011.
Rooney is also second in United’s all-time goalscoring list, just four goals behind Bobby Charlton, ahead of the new season and Ferguson believes his consistency makes him the best the league has seen.
“Wayne Rooney is a lovely man, a family man,” Ferguson told the Mirror.
“He’s a totally trustworthy man, a great professional and, for me, he’s been the best player we’ve ever had in the Premier League.”
And Ferguson said Rooney displayed that potential even as a 16-year-old, who would stay behind after training to watch play in under-18 fixtures.
“I stayed behind after training one day to have a look,” he said.
“Wayne was a substitute and came on and within 10 minutes he had scored two goals.
“I knew straight away there was something special about him. He had a great desire to get on the ball, he had great feet and he could ﬁnish.
“He also had the physicality and, of course, the talent. He was also fast and powerful so even at that age you could see he had everything you need to be a top, top player.
“He was the best 16-year-old footballer I had ever seen and still is, by the way. He would just get on the ball and run past people for fun.
“He was a tough kid from a tough area, but with a great sense of community. He had natural toughness and aggression and was made for the big stage.”