Table of Contents
- GOALKEEPER – Richard Wright
- RIGHT-BACK – Tony Hibbert
- CENTRE-BACK – David Weir
- CENTRE-BACK – Alan Stubbs
- LEFT-BACK – Gary Naysmith
- RIGHT-MIDFIELD – Tomasz Radzinski
- CENTRAL MIDFIELD – Thomas Gravesen
- CENTRAL MIDFIELD – Li Tie
- LEFT-MIDFIELD – Mark Pembridge
- STRIKER – Kevin Campbell
- STRIKER – Wayne Rooney
WAYNE ROONEY burst on to the scene in the 2002-03 season – most-remembered for his stunning winner against Arsenal.
The all-time leading scorer for England and Manchester United netted a 20-yard screamer to end the Gunners’ 30-game unbeaten run.
How Everton lined up for Wayne Rooney’s debut in 2002
The goal announced Rooney name to the world – while also setting the record for youngest-ever Premier League scorer – since beaten twice, by James Milner and James Vaughan.
But his wonderstrike against Arsenal wasn’t his debut – that came two months earlier, against Tottenham.
Rooney, still 16 at the time, laid on an assist for Mark Pembridge in the 2-2 draw.
Nearly 18 years on, we take a look at who his team-mates for the afternoon were – and how their careers ended up compared to their then-teenage team-mate.
GOALKEEPER – Richard Wright
Richard Wright’s howler put Spurs ahead on Rooney’s debut
A NEW £3.5million signing from Arsenal for the 2002-03 season, Wright’s howler allowed Les Ferdinand to give Spurs a 2-1 lead.
Wright made just 60 appearances across five seasons at Goodison Park, before moving to West Ham.
Stints at Southampton, Ipswich, Sheffield United and Preston followed, before he made a shock move to money-bags Manchester City.
Wright spent four years warming the bench and watching his mega-rich team-mates.
The two-cap England international never played a single game at City before retiring in 2016.
Wright has stayed on at the Etihad under Pep Guardiola, taking on the role of coach.
RIGHT-BACK – Tony Hibbert
One-club man Tony Hibbert started on Rooney’s debut
A TRUE one-club man, Hibbert was Everton through and through.
After making his debut in 1998, the right-back spent 18 years at Goodison Park before hanging up his boots in 2016.
In the mid-Noughties, there were even calls for Hibbert to be given an England call-up such was his ability in a defensive Everton set-up.
But the emergence of Seamus Coleman – and a series of injuries – put his career back a few steps.
Hibbert made a total of 329 appearances for the Toffees during his career.
CENTRE-BACK – David Weir
David Weir was in the team for young Roo’s first-team bow
HAVING spent the bulk of his career at Everton, Weir is another Toffees icon to start Rooney’s debut against Spurs.
The Scottish centre-back played at Goodison Park for eight years between 1999 and 2007 having joined from Hearts.
After making 235 Premier League appearances for Everton, the 69-cap Scotland moved back north of the border to finish his career at Rangers.
Weir most-recently managed Sheff Utd, in 2013, winning just one of his 13 matches before being given the boot.
CENTRE-BACK – Alan Stubbs
Alan Stubbs also started the game against Tottenham
STUBBS played for Everton across two stints – between 2001-2005 and 2006-2008.
So he was near the beginning of his Toffees career when Rooney shot onto the scene.
The former England B international played for Sunderland and Derby after each Everton spell having earlier played for Celtic – where he battled testicular cancer – and Bolton.
Stubbs most-recently managed St Mirren in 2018, after stints at Rotherham and Hibernian.
After excelling at Hibs, winning 58 of his 100 games in charge, he flopped at the Millers, winning one and losing ten of his 14 games before being sacked.
And he only lasted nine games at St Mirren.
LEFT-BACK – Gary Naysmith
Gary Naysmith was at left-back for the 2002 clash with Spurs
ANOTHER former Hearts defender to make the move to Everton, Naysmith started at left-back for Rooney’s debut in 2002.
He would go on to play 134 times for the Toffees before embarking on spells at Sheffield United, Huddersfield, Aberdeen and East Fife.
The 46-cap former Scotland international swiftly moved into management, first taking over at East Fife on a caretaker basis, before getting the job permanently.
After three years in charge, boasting a solid 37 per cent win rate, he moved on to Queen of the South – where he lasted a further three years.
At the start of last season, Naysmith moved to Hearts to take over a brand new role managing players who left the club on loan.
Currently, he’s manager of Edinburgh City.
RIGHT-MIDFIELD – Tomasz Radzinski
Radzinski scored a late equaliser for Everton on Roo’s debut
THE former Canada international grabbed a late equaliser nine minutes from time to spare Wright’s blushes on Roo’s debut in 2002.
After 25 goals in 91 Premier League appearances, Radzinski went on to play for Fulham in controversial manner.
The Poland-born star was offered a new contract by Everton, but was left insulted by the terms, handed in a transfer request and quit the club, heading to West London.
Radzinski would later wind down his career at Skoda Xanthi in Greece and Belgian clubs Lierse and Waasland-Beveren
After hanging up his boots, Radzinski returned to Lierse where he took on the role of technical director between 2013 and 2015.
Radzinski returned to Goodison Park in December 2017 to watch the game against Huddersfield and was given a warm welcome.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD – Thomas Gravesen
‘Mad Dog’ Thomas Gravesen started in midfield for Roo’s debut
AFTER joining Everton from German side Hamburg in 2000, the Danish hardman developed quite a reputation in England.
The 66-cap ex-Denmark star – dubbed “Mad Dog” at Everton – played 141 times for the Toffees in his five years at Goodison Park.
His hot form saw him join Real Madrid at the end of the 2004-05 season.
But rumours quickly circulated Bernabeu scouts accidentally gave the wrong name – and they actually meant to recommend fellow skinhead midfielder Lee Carsley to replace outgoing Claude Makelele, who joined Chelsea.
Gravesen later moved to Celtic, before enjoying one more stint at the Toffees – on loan in 2007-08 before he retired that season.
The Dane is said to have shrewdly invested money during his playing days, knowing the career of a footballer is all-too brief.
Gravesen is reckoned to have developed a fortune worth around £100m – and spends his days playing poker in Las Vegas.
CENTRAL MIDFIELD – Li Tie
Li Tie played against Tottenham but that was one of just five outings, including this one against Bolton
SIGNED on loan at the start of the season, Tie failed to make the grade – despite being signed permanently a season later.
The 92-cap China international made just five Premier League appearances after his move from Liaoning.
He later moved to Sheffield United, where he failed to play a single game in the league, before heading back to China to see out his career.
After retiring in 2011, Tie has been in management since 2012 and is now in charge of the Chinese national team, having started the role last year – initially on a caretaker basis – replacing Marcelo Lippi.
He was given the job permanently last year.
LEFT-MIDFIELD – Mark Pembridge
Veteran winger Mark Pembridge scored from a Rooney assist against Tottenham
A REAL veteran in the team by the time Rooney was on the scene, the Welshman joined Everton in 1999 following stints at Luton, Derby, Sheffield Wednesday and Benfica.
Pembridge scored Everton’s first goal in Roo’s debut – assisted by the 16-year-old – and would go on to play over 100 times in the Premier League across four seasons.
The 54-cap Wales winger hung up his boots after a four-year spell at Fulham.
Pembridge stuck around at the club, taking on the role of academy coach, before landing roles as Under-15s and Under-16s coordinator.
In 2016-17 he was given the role of Under-18s boss, and then he became Under-23s coach for their PL2 campaign.
STRIKER – Kevin Campbell
Campbell started the game up top with Rooney
ALREADY a former top-flight champion from his seven years at Arsenal, Campbell was a veteran figure partnering Rooney in attack that day against Tottenham.
Campbell – whose son Tyrese now plays for Stoke – spent six years at Everton, before moving to West Brom and Cardiff for a season apiece before hanging up his boots.
The former striker has many other hobbies and jobs outside of football – launching record label 2Wikid in 1996.
In 2008, Campbell ran a security company called T1 Protection – supplying bodyguards to the rich and famous.
He has also worked as a pundit in Asia and is an ambassador for the BringHope Foundation, who focus on humanitarian aid.
Campbell is also a regular on the after-dinner speaking circuit.
STRIKER – Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney made his debut against Tottenham in August 2002
AND now to the man himself…
Rooney may have had a quiet debut by his standards later in his career, but he did provide the assist for Everton’s first goal, before being subbed after 66 minutes.
The now Derby coach, would go on to enjoy huge success at Goodison across two stints, with a trophy-laden spell at Man Utd in the middle.
Rooney has scored 310 club goals in his career, including a team-record 253 for United – while also becoming England’s leading scorer with 53.
The former Toffees ace enjoyed two years in the US with MLS side DC United, before returning home.
‘Brazilian Beckham’ Rodrigo failed to make the grade at Everton
Steve Simonsen (DNP), Tobias Linderoth (DNP), Rodrigo (on 76 mins), David Unsworth (on 84 mins), Niclas Alexandersson (on 67 mins)
Simonsen spent just one season as No1 at the Toffees, making just 30 appearances across five years at the club – before moving to Stoke, Sheff Utd, Preston, Dundee, Rangers and Pune, in India.
Another unused sub on Rooney’s debut, Linderoth played just 40 times in three years at the club – and joined Copenhagen in 2004.
Dubbed the “Brazilian Beckham” thanks to his modelling career and similar hair-do, big things were expected of Rodrigo at Everton.
But he played just four times for the Premier League side while on loan – including his sub appearance against Spurs – and went on to have real journeyman career playing for 14 clubs across 15 stints, mostly in Brazil, during his career.
After retiring, Rodrigo has as a pundit before taking the job of assistant manager – and later manager – of Boavista between 2015-16.
Unsworth spent 11 years across two spells at Everton and has been back at the club recently, enjoying two spells as caretaker manager in 2016 and 2017.
He has also been Under-23s manager at the club since 2014.
Finally, there’s Alexandersson, who spent three years at Everton, before moving to West Ham (on loan) and IFK Goteborg.
The 109-cap Sweden international retired in 2009 and, just last year, was a crew member for Swedish film Britt-Marie Was Here, which scored 5.1 out of 10 on IMDb.