Why not take my advice and stick with Everton, son?

An open letter to Wayne Rooney

First things first, son, how's the broken bone? We'd all hoped that you'd come home from Portugal next Monday with one foot among the immortals, not last Friday with one foot in plaster.

Still, there's something symbolic about the fact that it's your metatarsal everyone's worrying about. It was David Beckham's metatarsal, you'll recall, that everyone was obsessed with a couple of years ago. Now he can break what he likes. We don't care. Although personally I don't blame him for missing that penalty. He made a much bigger mistake by getting the back of his neck tattooed like that. For that alone he should have been relieved of the England captaincy. Don't go getting your neck tattooed, Wayne, will you?

Wayne, we're both Evertonians, you and I. In fact I met you in the Goodison dressing-room on 19 April last year, just before the Liverpool match. You posed for a photo with my son Joseph, who was the mascot that day, just as you had been the mascot at a Merseyside derby when you were a nipper, although I can't make the comparison stretch much further than that. I don't think Joseph will be setting the world alight when he's 18, not with his footballing ability anyway, although he's not a bad little goalkeeper.

Wayne, it's been strange being an Everton fan this last fortnight or so. Never in my lifetime have we had the hottest property in world football at Goodison Park, not unless you count those few weeks in 1978 when Geoff Nulty ran into a vein of form before running into Jimmy Case. But at Wimbledon last week even Serena Williams declared herself an Everton fan, or at least said that she supported whichever club you played for, which, by the time your foot's better, may or may not be Everton.

Like most Blues, I watched your scintillating performances at Euro 2004 with a mixture of pride and dread. Pride that such an extraordinary talent had been nurtured at Bellefield; dread that it might soon be transferred elsewhere.

There has been a lot of nonsense spouted - some of it, I don't doubt, by Sven - about you needing Champions' League football to evolve into an even better player. But here's the thing, Wayne. You took Portugal by storm, eclipsing even Zinedine Zidane, without ever having played in the Champions' League. You don't need it at all. What you need is another few seasons with Everton, getting knocked out of the domestic cups nice and early to leave you fresh for England matches.

You're only 18, for heaven's sake. You and Colleen have got a lovely house in Formby, with all those sweet little red squirrels nearby. Even when the 2010 World Cup comes round, you'll still only be 24. Whatever that Gary Neville's been saying to you, there's plenty of time to play for Manchester United.

But I suspect that your agent, Paul Stretford, is even now trying to broker a deal with United. You'll certainly be better off there than at Chelsea. There are no red squirrels on Fulham Broadway. And Jose Mourinho looks like a joyless fellow to me.

Whatever happens, Wayne, I hope you'll be happy. The public relations consultant Max Clifford said you should be marketed as a jack the lad, which made me want to go and knock his block off. If you have to be marketed as anything, it should be as an English footballer of rare, perhaps unprecedented ability. And if you do leave Everton this summer, as I suspect you will, I hope your lingering affection for the club will at some point bring you back.

Maybe by then we will be a force again. Maybe, all those millions that we get for you will enable the board to wipe out the debt and David Moyes to haul us back into the top six, where we belong.

I've heard it said that you don't care much for Moyes, even though he is widely credited with managing your burgeoning genius with almost paternal care. If it's true that you don't get on, maybe you should think twice about playing for Sir Alex Ferguson, who is Moyes writ large. Maybe you should go to Chelsea, after all. They will certainly give us more money than anyone else. Roman Abramovich won't miss £75m.

As you can tell, Wayne, I'm hopelessly mixed up about this. And I suspect the chairman, Bill Kenwright, is too. Really, it's a win-win situation.

Either we keep the hottest property in world football or we sell you for a fortune. We can't lose. So why don't I feel happier? Maybe what troubles me is that growing prospect of having to explain to Joseph, whose photo of himself with you is his proudest possession, that you're moving to Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge. But don't let that put you off.

All the best, and get well soon.

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game