Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick on his Manchester United debut 18 years ago today

On this day in 2004, 18-year-old Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick on his Manchester United debut against Fenerbahce in the Champions League.

Rooney joined United from Everton in a deal worth £27.5m, a record fee for an under-20 player at the time.

The England striker suffered a fractured metatarsal at Euro 2004 which kept him out of his United debut for a month.

Sir Alex Ferguson knew Rooney could handle the pressure on a cold Tuesday afternoon at Old Trafford and dropped him into the starting line-up.

With the crowd watching, Rooney produced a remarkable performance that included a one-footed goal and a superb free kick.

Ruud van Nistelrooy opened the scoring before Rooney coolly scored his first of 253 United goals.

He grabbed a second just before half-time with a great effort to catch goalkeeper Rustu Recber.

Fenerbahce would get one back early in the second half, but Rooney pounced on the superstar to make it 4-1 shortly after.

Cameras captured Rooney in deep conversation with veteran United winger Ryan Giggs seconds before the set-piece was taken. He showed more confidence in that moment than most have in their entire careers.

Image credit: Alamy

“Can I have the ball?” he asked before De Bleeckere tried to assert his authority over the situation.

He was met with a cold reply: “That’s for me.”

This made his way back to Ferguson, who was absolutely furious. He stormed De Bleeckere and made sure he got the ball back.

Rooney told the Guardian in 2006: “I couldn’t believe it. The manager just said, ‘What? I don’t have that’ and he went to see the umpire. don’t thank him enough.’

During 13 years at United, Rooney won five Premier League titles, three League Cups, the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Europa League.

He became their record goalscorer in January 2017 and returned to Everton the following summer.

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