Wayne Rooney has revealed that he “quickly” realised that a number of his Everton idols were “crap” once he started training with them every day.
The Manchester United legend famously burst onto the scene against Arsenal in October 2002 with a stunning last-minute winner to end the Gunners 30-match unbeaten run.
He scored the goal five days before his 17th birthday to become the youngest goalscorer in Premier League history, which has since been broken.
Rooney played alongside some of the best players in Everton’s modern history but the former England international says he was shocked at how “crap” the Toffees squad was.
When asked what it was like to idolise some Everton players and the next minute be the best in the squad, Rooney replied on Toffee TV: “It’s mad how quick it changed.
“For me to go in with Duncan (Ferguson), Stubbsy (Alan Stubbs), all of them who have I grew up watching, to then go and play with them, train with them every day and play with them, and then so quickly, I remember thinking: ‘These are crap!’
“Obviously not all of them, but some of the players I was thinking, ‘what’s going on here?’
“I couldn’t believe how bad some of them were. I remember thinking ‘I’m better than all these players’.
“That’s not disrespecting to them players but some of them just weren’t good enough and should never have played for Everton.”
Marcus Rashford, one of Rooney’s former team-mates at Manchester United, has been in great form for the Red Devils and England recently after struggling last season.
He was criticised by some fans and pundits for not concentrating on football with the Man Utd forward campaigning to end child food poverty in England.
And Rooney thinks Rashford now has the balance right and hopes he can keep up his current form.
“It looks like Marcus is in a much better place in his head and the big thing, for me, is that during Covid he did so much campaigning work and got involved with a lot of stuff off the pitch,” Rooney said.
“His achievements were incredible, but I think it might have been a bit too much for him.
“Rather than being able to just focus on his football, there was a lot on his plate, whereas what we’ve seen this season is very much a focus on football first rather than anything else. From some of the goals he has scored, you can see he is in a different headspace.
“I watched Marcus develop at Manchester United and there are not many players with his speed and direct running at goal. You never know how much football players these days actually watch but I know from being in camps that at tournaments you sit around together watching a lot of games as a group.”