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When Wayne Rooney arrived at Manchester United's as English football's hottest prospect back in 2004, big things were expected.

Rooney earned rave reviews at Everton after bursting on the scene as a fresh-faced youngster with that incredible goal against Arsenal.

And so, on his arrival at the Red Devils' state-of-the-art Carrington training HQ, few would have blamed the striker for wanting to impress his new manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who was regarded as one of European football's greatest managers.

But, in fact, Rooney was more focused on impressing two of the most experienced United players in the squad: Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane.

Sir Alex Ferguson with Wayne Rooney during their time together at Man Utd
(Image: Getty Images Sport)

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Reflecting on his move 16 years ago, Rooney told the Man Utd podcast : “When I signed I had a broken foot so I couldn’t go straight into training with the players.

"But once I got training with the players, the main thing was impressing Giggsy and Roy Keane. I wanted to impress those two, not so much the manager.

“I know it sounds a bit strange but it was almost like I wanted to win them over. I wanted them to believe in me and feel I was good enough. That was my main thing I wanted to do.

"Obviously in my first game [Wayne scored a hat-trick in a 6-2 win over Fenerbahce) I think I did that. I settled in really quickly.”

Rooney was desperate to impress Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs
(Image: Press Association)

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The former England captain, who had impressed for the three Lions at Euro 2004 prior to his arrival at Old Trafford, went on to earn hero status at the club.

Rooney is widely regarded as one of the finest strikers of his generation, with his 253 goals in 559 United appearances seeing him become the club's all-time top goalscorer.

During his glittering spell with United, he won five Premier League titles and also starred in the memorable 2008 Champions League triumph.

He added: "It might sound a bit big-headed but I knew I could come to Man United and be part of something special.

“I knew I was good enough to play in this team and I could bring something different to the team.

“I wanted to work with Sir Alex Ferguson and play with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand, these players, so I knew where I wanted to go.

“I knew quite a few of the players. I knew Rio, Gary Neville, Scholesy, Phil Neville was here for a little bit, so I knew them from England.

"I think the main thing for me, I signed for the club because I wanted to play for Alex Ferguson.