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16th Sep 2023

Alan Cawley tells brilliant story about a 13-year-old Wayne Rooney

Lee Costello

Wayne Rooney

“Remember his name.”

Former League of Ireland star Alan Cawley tells a brilliant story about the time he first watched a 13-year-old Wayne Rooney. 

Cawley was playing for the Leeds Youth Academy at the time, and when speaking on the latest episode of the House of Football podcast, he reveals how he got to watch a young Rooney in full flight. 

“I saw Rooney as a kid at 13 years of age he could have been, maybe 12. We were in Leeds and at the weekends all of the English Lads, or Scottish Lads used to go home because it’d be only a two or three drive hours up the road or whatever, but the Irish Lads used to stay for weekends.

“On Sunday mornings there were the Academy games so we used to have to help out, either referee the Under 11s or do the linesman for the under 13s whatever.

“You’d be allocated to a pitch and that was fine so I remember doing this game one day minding my own business, doing the line, and there were a few parents along the side here beside me.

“So I got chatting to them, and a few scouse people and you would be saying things like ‘how are you getting, is your young lad playing?’ and all of that.

“I’ll never forget this fella says to me, he said ‘see that boy out there, number nine’? And I was kind of like ‘Yeah?’ 

He said ‘see him and remember his name’ and I said ‘what’s his name?” 

“‘Wayne Rooney,” he said.’

“I always looked out for him from then on, the young fella was just out of this world, even at that age.”

Of course everyone soon came to learn the name, and what a legacy in football he left behind him, becoming the top scorer in the history of Man united and England. 

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