England coach Gary Neville backs Wayne Rooney to improve over the next decade
GARY NEVILLE has backed Wayne Rooney to become an even better player in the twilight of his career.
It is ten years since a 16-year-old Rooney burst onto the scene by scoring his first Premier League goal for Everton against Arsenal.
He went on to join Manchester United in 2004 and has won four Premier League titles, two League Cups and the Champions League in his time at Old Trafford.
Rooney became the then youngest ever England international in 2003 when he made his debut against Australia and has gone on to represent his country 77 times.
On Friday he donned the England armband for the first time in a competitive match as Roy Hodgson’s men defeated San Marino 5-0 in a World Cup qualifier.
And the 26-year-old bagged a brace against the minnows to propel himself to fifth in England’s all-time goalscoring list.
But Rooney’s former Manchester United team-mate and current Three Lions coach Neville believes the hitman can get even better.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live, Neville said: "At the age of 26, you always have to think that there's more to come.
“We need to see Wayne Rooney improve and he needs to see himself improve.
"He's a wonderful player, one that is at his best when he's like the street kid – fighting for every ball, taking every free kick, every throw-in, tackling and heading, fighting to win."
And if Rooney is to alter his game over the next few years, Neville believes there are two ideal role models he can learn from.
He added: "Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs have adapted their games.
"Ryan Giggs has gone from a flying left winger to someone who now plays off the front, at inside left as well as central midfield.
"Paul Scholes was a goalscoring No10 when he first started as a 16-year-old, now he's a holding midfield player who controls the game.
"You have to adapt. Rooney is still a centre forward, but he'll adapt over the next ten years.”