Wayne Rooney has admitted Newcastle made an approach to sign him when he was still a teenager at Everton – after paying a glowing tribute to the late Sir Bobby Robson.
The Manchester United captain is supporting an online auction for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, donating an England top dedicated to his record-breaking 50 goals for his country.
The auction has attracted 140 prizes from the likes of Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson, and Rooney, 30, revealed the former England manager tried to sign him when he was still a youngster at his first club Everton.
He said: “Sir Bobby Robson was a football man to the core and once tried to sign me for Newcastle.
“I only played against his teams on a few occasions.
“But as England captain, I am aware of his impact as the most successful national team manager since Sir Alf Ramsey. I can remember vividly, even though I was only a small boy, the effect he had on the team during the World Cup in Italy 1990 when we came so close to making the final.
“It is a huge honour for me to captain the national team and a matter of great pride that I have managed to become the country’s current record goalscorer. I can think of no cause more relevant than Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to receive one of only 50 special commemorative England shirts to mark the achievement.”
Rooney left Everton for Old Trafford in 2004, the same year Robson lost his job as manager of Newcastle United.
Sir Bobby’s son Mark Robson, 52, speaking on behalf of the family, said: “I know Dad would have loved to have had Wayne Rooney in one of his England teams. He adored Paul Gascoigne and his genius skills and Wayne is in that bracket. It is great to hear Italia 90 has inspired a generation, including Wayne’s record-breaking achievements.
“Even after he moved on from the national team, Dad never missed an England game at Wembley and he would have been thrilled to have seen Wayne’s 50th goal.”