Wayne Rooney: the top 5 greatest goals of his career

Continuing our series of ranking football legends’ greatest goals, here are our top 5 picks from the incredible career of Wayne Rooney.

After bursting on the scene at just 16 years old, Rooney lived up to all the pressure placed on his young shoulders.

Although he started at Everton, England’s all-time leading scorer enjoyed a trophy-laden spell at Man United.

He won five Premier Leagues, a Champions League, an FA Cup, plus a Europa League and four League Cups with the Red Devils.

In addition, Rooney became United’s all-time top scorer, surpassing the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton.

Spells at Everton and in the MLS with DC United followed for the England icon before switching to management.

As a player, Wayne Rooney is undoubtedly a Premier League legend. He, therefore, became an inductee of the PL Hall of Fame in 2022.

And, with so many goals to his name, it is also unsurprising that Rooney has a collection of incredible strikes. Here are five of our favourites here at SPORF. 

#5: vs Portsmouth, 2006/07 FA Cup

Starting off our list of the greatest goals scored by Wayne Rooney is a sublime effort in the FA Cup.

During Man United’s 2006/07 fourth-round tie with Portsmouth, Rooney scored a beautiful chip which ultimately turned out to be the winner.

The forward received the ball before drifting towards the edge of the box. Rooney then noticed Pompey keeper David James was off his line.

So, to punish James for his positional error, the Man United star produced a fantastic lob.

His shot glided over the helpless goalkeeper, nestling in the far top corner with a slight touch off of the bar.

This particular goal showed off Rooney’s ability as one of the best technicians in the world at the time whilst also helping his side advance to the next round.

Unfortunately, though, United would come up short in the 2006/07 competition. They reached the Final – the first at the new Wembley – but lost 1-0 to Chelsea.

#4: vs West Ham, 2017/18 Premier League

Rooney loved to score long-range goals against West Ham – however, this strike from his second spell at Everton is number four on his greatest-hits list for us.

The reason for this is the sheer level of difficulty that this particular goal possesses.

When Joe Hart clears the ball past the halfway line, most players would have taken a touch. But not Rooney. Instead, he drove his foot through the ball with perfect technique.

Because West Ham keeper Hart was well out of position, Rooney struck his first-time effort from inside his own half.

The ball sailed over numerous opponents, including Angelo Ogbonna, who tried to save the shot himself. No one could stop this outrageous hit from the Everton star, though.

This goal sealed a hat-trick for Rooney as the Toffees routed the Hammers 4-0.

Sadly, this also turned out to be the last occasion where Wayne Rooney would score a Premier League hat-trick. What a way to do it, mind.

#3: vs Arsenal, 2002/03 Premier League

Whilst #4 on this list came in Rooney’s twilight years, number three of the legend’s greatest goals is the one that announced his talent to the world.

“Remember the name Wayne Rooney” boomed Clive Tyldesley over this stunning strike against Arsenal.

At just 16 years old, the Englishman came on as a sub to snatch all three points from the Gunners with a screamer.

After plucking the ball out of the sky with one touch, Rooney steadied himself and took a touch out of his feet.

Then, despite being 25+ yards from goal, the youngster unleashed an inspired curling effort.

David Seaman in the Arsenal goal could not get near the shot as it found the top-left corner, smacking the bar on its way in.

This insane strike earned Rooney instant recognition as one of the emerging talents in world football.

Aside from that, the Everton starlet had also ended Arsenal’s insane 30-match unbeaten streak.

It was a momentous moment in the career of Wayne Rooney, and more than deserving of a spot in his greatest goals.

#2: vs Newcastle, 2004/05 Premier League

Coming in at number two on the greatest goals from Wayne Rooney is a Premier League all-timer.What makes this volley even more iconic is the fact that Rooney was arguing with the referee moments before it.

The England striker always played with his heart on his sleeve – and sometimes, Rooney’s emotions elevated his game to even higher levels. This goal against Newcastle at Old Trafford is a great example of that.

The visitors could only half-clear a Man United attack, heading the ball away outside their box.

However, Newcastle did not see a furious Wayne Rooney running onto the tame clearance.

Before the ball touched the ground, Rooney threw his right foot at it to produce a venomous volley. His strike arrowed into the top corner of the goal, sending Old Trafford wild.

A stone-faced Rooney appeared unphased by his incredible strike, though.

Instead of celebrating, he followed up the ball by thumping it back into the net. He still needed to relieve some more frustration.

Rooney’s sensational volley brought his United side level against the Magpies. Following this, Wes Brown scored to give the Red Devils a 2-1 win on the day.

Despite the victory, most people took one message away from that game in 2005; do not give Rooney sight of the goal when he is angry.

#1: vs Man City, 2010/11 Premier League

One of the greatest goals that the Premier League has ever seen, this awe-inspiring bicycle kick from Rooney had to be number one in our rundown.

Everything about this goal gives it legendary status. The situation, the importance, the technique, the celebration – it all combines as one to create sheer footballing brilliance.

With the Manchester Derby in the balance, Paul Scholes found Nani on the right-hand side.

The United winger sent a cross into the box, which took a little deflection. This meant that the ball looked to be sailing behind Rooney.

Because of this, Man United’s talisman made an excellent adjustment, then stunned everyone with a ridiculous piece of skill.

Rooney threw himself in the air and nailed a perfect overhead kick that sent the ball toward the goal.

He had managed to find the top corner with his spectacular effort, freezing Man City’s Hart to the spot.

As United fans, players, and staff erupted in celebration, Rooney sprinted to the corner flag before doing his iconic pose. Arms spread wide, head looking up to the sky, eyes shut as if in prayer.

And it was a goal from the gods, a moment of genius that gave United a 2-1 win. From here, the Red Devils would go on to claim the 2010/11 Premier League title – Rooney’s fourth of his career.

As well as being one of the greatest goals of his career, Rooney also picked up an award for this strike.

When the Premier League celebrated its 20th anniversary, this effort won the title of the best goal in the league’s young history.

Even now, nearly 12 years later, there are not many strikes that come close.

Featured image credit: YouTube/Sky Sports Retro