Top Tenner: Wayne Rooney's most memorable moments

As Wayne Rooney celebrates the 10th anniversary of signing for Manchester United, we look at his 10 most significant moments for the club...

10. The winner against Aston Villa in the 2010 League Cup final

Wayne Rooney has played in three Champions League finals, two FA Cup finals and three League Cup finals. He has scored in three of those games, but in only one has he provided the telling contribution.

That was the 2010 League Cup final, in which Manchester United went a goal down in the first three minutes (and were lucky Nemanja Vidic wasn't sent off for a foul on Ashley Young) only for Michael Owen to equalise soon after. The score stayed level until the 74th minute when Rooney, in the middle of the quite extraordinary run of form discussed later, arched his back and flexed his neck to loop a brilliant header into the net and thus claim the trophy for United.

Is it a little surprising that a player of Rooney's status has only provided a telling contribution in one out of eight finals? Perhaps, but few players around the world have been good enough to even appear in that many big games, never mind decide them.

9. Being given the Manchester United captaincy

The captaincy in football is not something that should really matter. The skipper plays no tangible role in team selection or strategy as they would in a sport such as cricket; the best they can do is to lead the team with deeds or words, and ideally both. Beyond that, it's just a strip of cloth worn around the arm, something that the Italian national team deal with by simply letting the player with most caps lead the team out and do the coin toss. Nevertheless, it is something footballers care about, probably because it's a status symbol, and as nonmaterial status symbols go, the captaincy of one of the biggest football clubs in the world is up there; Rooney has now reached a pretty high point on the football ladder.

It was also an acknowledgement by Louis van Gaal that Rooney is a central part of the United team, although as Miguel Delaney wrote here, it might soon become apparent that Rooney is the odd man out in United's myriad attacking options, as Van Gaal tries to find room for him, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.

It's a little soon to judge how Rooney has been as United captain so far, but being sent off for a needless kick of Stewart Downing isn't a great look for a "leader," while few were particularly impressed with the ostentatious castigation of his young teammates after Leicester scored the third in their recent 5-3 win, when it was Rooney's own errant pass that was key in conceding that goal.

8. Being sent off for applause

For a player with a reputation for aggression and having a rather combustible character -- one that registered more yellow cards than goals while at Everton -- it's perhaps surprising to learn that he's only been given his marching orders three times at the club level -- on each occasion, it was for a pointless act of petulance.

The second red card came in the 2008-09 season when Rooney was dismissed in United's Premier League defeat to Fulham, earning a harsh second booking for throwing the ball vaguely in the direction of referee Phil Dowd, which was also where the ball belonged for a free-kick, but the first was perhaps the best example of his youthful immaturity.

In a Champions League game against Villarreal in 2005, 19-year-old Rooney received a questionable booking from referee Kim Milton Nielsen but reacted by launching ropes of invective at the Danish official before applauding the man in charge sarcastically, earning himself a second yellow.

"It was a reality check for me," he said a few years later. "It was a ridiculous thing to do. When I was in the dressing room when I got sent off, I was just thinking, "Why have I just done that?" Whether he's learned his lesson or not is a matter of opinion. On the one hand, he hasn't been sent off since for United, but on the other, he has for England -- another ludicrous act of petulance after kicking out at Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic -- and he routinely pushes his luck with referees, offering what one might call "robust criticism" should something displease him.

On Sept. 27, 2014, Rooney, while skippering United, was dismissed in the second half of their Premier League meeting with West Ham. His side were leading 2-1 as Rooney lost his temper and hacked at Stewart Downing. Fortunately for the striker, Van Gaal's men held on for a much-needed victory.

7. The 2008 and 2009 Champions Leagues

A frequent criticism of Rooney is that he demands to be the centre of the team, that he must be the main man, as supposedly evidenced by his 2010 transfer request. However, the way Rooney played when United won the Champions League in 2008 and reached the final in 2009 is proof that this has not always been the case. In those years, Rooney very much was not the main man, Cristiano Ronaldo standing head and shoulders above not just his colleague but most other players in the world, meaning Rooney had to defer to his teammate, and he did this well and with little complaint.

It was during these two European campaigns that Sir Alex Ferguson hit upon the idea of using Ronaldo as a centre-forward, harnessing his strength, pace and aerial ability with largely good results. This, of course, meant that Rooney had to perform a different role, specifically that of a hard-working wideman, with he or Ji-sung Park (sometimes both) given the job of tracking up and down the wings. Rooney might not have scored in either final, but his unselfish play in some of the crucial lead-up matches contributed significantly to that side's success.

6. The overhead kick against Manchester City

Yes, of course it was a shinner. Even the briefest of glances at a replay will reveal that what initially looked like an utterly extraordinary bicycle kick to win the Manchester derby in February 2011 came squarely from the centre of his shinpad. But does that matter? It was still a fairly remarkable act of athleticism, and one assumes hitting the thing into the top corner was exactly what Rooney intended to do, so why not give him credit for it? Of course there was a fair amount of luck involved, but few goals rely only on the individual brilliance of one player; instead of his stroke of fortune being a piece of bad defending, or a favourable bounce of the ball, it was the power generated from his shin pad.

Rooney has scored better goals -- the ferocious volley against Newcastle in 2005, perhaps, or another volley against Middlesbrough in the same year that arguably required better technique than the bicycle kick -- but this was the one voted by fans as the greatest the Premier League has ever seen.

Rooney described its significance in his book "My Decade in the Premier League": "A goal that puts our noisy neighbours -- the other lot -- in their place. A goal that reminds them United have more history and more success than they do right now. A goal that warns the rest of the country we're on our way to winning another Premier League title."

5. The ankle injury in Munich

Rooney's best individual season was arguably in 2009-10, seemingly stepping up after the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez to Manchester City, emerging as United's undisputed primary attacking threat. And he lived up to that title, too, going on an extraordinary tear in which he scored a frankly absurd 26 goals in 24 games between the end of November and March.

The last of those goals came in the second minute of United's Champions League quarterfinal against Bayern Munich, but the German giants came back, and in the buildup to their late winner, Rooney went over on his ankle and hobbled off, and United and England fans feared the worst. Reassurances came that there was no significant damage, and Rooney was rushed back into the United team for the second leg, but he was patently unfit, was taken off with the tie lost and would only play three more games that season, not finding the net.

The injury seemed to take all the momentum from his season, a little like a blisteringly quick hurdler belting down the back straight, quickening the pace around the bend but hammering into a barrier as they reached the home stretch, not taken down, but their flow gone. Rooney was in historic form, probably in what sportsmen describe as "the zone," and it looked as though he would carry that form into that summer's World Cup, but the injury changed it all. What could've been.

4. That goal against Arsenal, 2002

"Remember the name," exclaimed Clive Tyldesley as this young tyro, a barely plausible 16-year-old, rattled the ball past David Seaman from 25 yards out to give Everton a 2-1 win and end a 30-game unbeaten run for defending champions Arsenal. In truth, most already knew the name; Rooney's notoriety was such that he was targeted for "special attention" by Spurs fans as he made his first-team debut a few weeks earlier, something pretty extraordinary for a boy not yet old enough to drive a car.

Indeed, not only was the Arsenal goal not Rooney's first-team debut, it wasn't even his first senior strike, having opened his account with a brace in a League Cup tie against Wrexham earlier that month, but this was a different thing altogether. "Rooney is the biggest England talent I've seen since I arrived in England," said a vaguely shell-shocked Arsene Wenger after the game -- obviously some compliment, but it also gives an idea of what a truly remarkable player had emerged.

3. The transfer request(s)

To wonder whether a player has handed in one or two transfer requests over a decade firstly doesn't say much for that player's career or character, but it also seems a little like splitting hairs. We know for sure that Rooney definitely asked to leave Manchester United once, a curiously timed affair at the start of the 2010-11 season when Rooney was in one of the troughs of form that seem to sweep over him every now and then -- when he doesn't quite so much underperform as barely look like a professional footballer -- first touch bouncing five yards in any direction and a listless look in his eye.

Rooney claimed this request to be released was down to ambition, to his unhappiness with United's transfer policy, having sold Cristiano Ronaldo the previous year and not really replaced him, as far as one can replace a player like that. "I met with David Gill [United chief executive] last week, and he did not give me any of the assurances I was seeking about the future squad," Rooney said solemnly, his assurances that this move wasn't about money rather undermined by the enormous, five-year contract he signed a few days later.

The second "request" is slightly murkier. Throughout Ferguson's final year at United, there had been stories of strained relations between manager and player, stories that gained some strength after Rooney was dropped for the Champions League tie against Real Madrid. Ferguson reassured everyone after the game that there was no issue between the two, and that Rooney had been omitted for tactical reasons, but in an interview after his last home game, Ferguson casually mentioned to a TV reporter that Rooney had asked to leave and be left out of that day's team.

Curiously, Rooney -- not directly but via several well-placed media leaks -- denied any such request had taken place, and despite the school of thought that David Moyes would assert his authority in his new job by selling United's No. 10 to Chelsea or PSG, Rooney remained and once again signed a new contract a few months later.

2. Signing for Manchester United

Ferguson wasn't an easy man to impress as Manchester United manager. When you've had Roy Keane, Eric Cantona, Jaap Stam, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and dozens of other astonishing talents under your control, it takes something pretty special to get excited about, which shows you what a remarkable prospect Rooney was in 2004. Aged just 18, Rooney had just carried England in the European Championships, his injury against Portugal often cited as the moment that everything went south for Sven Goran Eriksson's side.

After asking to leave Everton and attracting bids from an ambitious and optimistic Newcastle, United paid a fee that eventually reached 27 million pounds, a record for a player younger than 20, and he looked like a bargain. "I think we have got the best young player this country has seen in the past 30 years," Ferguson said after the deal was completed. "I can see Wayne having the same impact as Eric [Cantona] had on the team when I signed him." Big talk, but the early signs were pretty impressive, to say the least ...

1. Scoring a hat trick on his Manchester United debut

Rooney's debut for United, in their 6-2 win over Fenerbahce in the Champions League, was covered in another recent top tenner, but it would be foolish not to include it here.

Rooney scored three goals, but the bare facts were only part of the excitement, as this remarkable ball of fire left scorched earth and charred defenders in his wake. He opened his account with an assured left-footed finish after being put through on goal, bagged a second after a feint left the Turkish defence baffled and grasping, recalling the old Geoffrey Green line about Billy Wright looking "like a fire engine going to the wrong fire" when faced with Ferenc Puskas in 1953. Then, the hat trick and a remarkable introduction was complete as Rooney casually curled an inch-perfect free kick past the very definition of a despairing dive from keeper Recber Rustu.

It was summed up rather brilliantly by Paul Wilson in the Observer, who wrote, under the headline "37 minutes that changed English football":

"There is so much hype and hucksterism in modern football it is easy to be dismissive when the real thing comes along...No one has seen anything resembling Wayne Rooney's Manchester United debut before...nothing in the dusty language of record books does justice to an 18-year-old who changed hands for £27 million while nursing a foot injury and announced his return by hitting a 37-minute hat-trick in his first game in a United shirt. In front of 67,128 people. In the Champions League."