Wayne Rooney nearly gave up football at 14 | inside World Soccer

Wayne Rooney nearly gave up football at 14

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Manchester United star Wayne Rooney has revealed how former Everton youth coach Colin Harvey talked him out of quitting football 15 years ago.

Rooney was 14 when Everton's eagerness for him to embrace the tactical side of football made his love of the game diminished.

He was ready to quit the game but Harvey stepped in to persuade a teenage Rooney not to abandon what at that stage was just a promising career.

"Colin Harvey was a massive help because when I was about 14 I really stopped enjoying playing football," Rooney told journalists.

"I had enjoyed it all my life until then, but I was being told to do different things that I didn't want to do.

"At that age you just want to play football. And then around about that age, you start getting told what different things to do on the pitch, you're learning the tactics of the game.

"I felt at that moment I just wanted to go and enjoy it. I felt that it was too much and, yeah, I remember going home and telling my dad that I didn't want to go any more.

"My dad was upset with me over it. And then I went in to see Colin and he was great for me. It was really down to Colin that I carried on.

"He sat me down and made me fall back in love with it. He just said he had seen players throughout his career and that he hadn't seen any player with the talent that I had, so I'd be making a mistake.

"He said he would always be there to help me and support me. And he said, 'if you keep working hard, then you will be in the first team quicker than you think'.

"Once he said that, that's when I really well thought, 'he used to be Everton manager, so he knows the game'.

"Thankfully, I listened to him. From that moment on, that's when I said to myself 'this is what I want to be doing'.

"At that time I was doing boxing as well, but that's when I stopped going to boxing and focused solely on football. Really from then, that's when the progression was rapid for me."

Had it not been for a pep talk from Harvey, Rooney could have ended up as a landscaper or builder - like his friends from Liverpool - rather than a football superstar.

The England forward added: "To be honest, I've never thought about what I'd end up doing if I'd quit. I suppose I just have to look at what my friends are doing.

"Some of them are doing landscaping. Some of them are builders. I'd have tried boxing, but that is so difficult to do well in, so I wouldn't have pinned anything on that."

Rooney remains in touch with Harvey, who played a big part in Everton's success during the 1980s before going on to manage the Toffees for three years.

He said: "I do keep in touch with Colin. He hasn't been too well lately, but he's coming in two or three weeks' time to Old Trafford to watch a game."


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