A decade on, it looks like money very well spent indeed.
About the only thing lacking in Rooney's game is a full head of hair, and even that has been addressed by expensive treatment, leaving a two-footed scorer of goals and creator of chances who is highly likely to have broken a whole host of Premiership and England records by the time he finally retires.
After two eye-catching seasons on Merseyside, Rooney marked his United debut with a Champions League hat-trick. And he has delivered at Old Trafford ever since.
He averages a goal every two games for United and has scored at nearly the same rate for England. Internationally, it is surely only a matter of time before he becomes the country's most capped player and its highest ever goalscorer.
There have been highs and lows along the way for England, but mainly highs at United, where he's won five league titles and the Champions League among a personal haul of nine trophies all-in.
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