Wayne Rooney wanted to quit football at age 14
Watford (UK): England captain Wayne Rooney has revealed that he considered turning his back on football at the age of 14 after becoming disillusioned with the game.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney during the pre-season friendly match against Valencia at Old Trafford last August. Pic/Getty Images
The 29-year-old made his 100th international appearance in a Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Slovenia on Saturday. But on the eve of the game, the Manchester United star revealed that had it not been for Colin Harvey, a youth coach at his former club Everton, his football career might have been snuffed out before it had even begun.
"I think for me, Colin Harvey was a massive help because when I was about 14, I really stopped enjoying playing football," Rooney told journalists. "At that age you just want to go and play football. And then around about that age, you start getting told what different things to do on the pitch, you are learning the tactics of the game.
"I felt at that moment that I just wanted to go and enjoy it. I felt that it was too much and I remember going home and telling my dad that I didn't want to go anymore. My dad was upset with me over it. And then I went in to see Colin Harvey and he was great for me. He sat me down and made me fall back in love with it.
"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 as football, but that's when I stopped going to boxing and focused solely on football. Thankfully, it was the right decision."
Asked what he would be doing now if he had not become a footballer, Rooney replied: "I've never thought of it. 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 don't know." Two years later, Rooney made his Everton debut and at the age of 17, he was awarded his first senior England cap in a 3-1 friendly defeat by Australia at Upton Park in February 2003.