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APOLOGIES if you've heard this before but you are going to have to get used to it: Wayne Rooney is a joy to behold.

Having sung his praises yesterday following a goalscoring senior debut against SC Bruck, Everton's second Austrian outing marked a chance to report on something other than the mounting expectations around the teenage sensation. Or at least that was the plan.

With even SC Weiz's Stassenstadion resounding to the echoes of ``Rooney, Rooney'' within half an hour of his second appearance for the first team, the 16-year-old illustrated why he cannot be ignored. And why David Moyes will not ignore him next season.

Caution and protection will follow this incredible talent, but keeping hype in check is an impossible task when, as he did last night, Rooney scores three and makes three in a 10-goal rout.

Against a side three divisions above Everton's first Austrian opponents, a measure of just how special the Croxteth creation is was that his most memorable moment did not arrive in one of the six goals he was involved with.

That arrived on 30 minutes.

Trapping a 50-yard crossfield ball on his instep, Rooney pulled away from a wild lunge in the same motion, stopped to glare contemptuously at the exhausted defender lying before him then turned a second marker with an arrogant back-heel. Though he has the physique of a little bull, this was the move of a matador. It is not just these skills that make Rooney, fresh out of school, Everton's finest attacking force however. His hat-trick, and further apologies to Kevin McLeod here for glossing over the winger's superb treble, displayed a repertoire that suggests the Premiership holds no fears.

The first on 25 minutes, after Everton had fallen behind to a deflected free-kick in the fifth minute, was a calm chip over the keeper with two defenders breathing down his neck. Number two was a poacher's conversion from McLeod's dangerous cross with the third a 20-yard drive aided by a slight deflection.

In between he sent McLeod on the way to his hat-trick with a low, first time cross along the face of goal, and a shot that was parried into the midfielder's path after Rooney had beaten three defenders.

After the uninspired run-out against SC Bruck on Monday, last night's opponents offered a better test all round. In the first half at least.

But after pulling a second goal back courtesy of a Paul Gerrard slip just before the break, they were blown away by Everton's second half showing. The Blues were vibrant, and it is surely no coincidence it was delivered by a team packed with youth.

With senior pros resting slight niggles or enjoying a post-World Cup rest, Everton's youngsters have seized their chance to impress. And not only Rooney.

McLeod, with his pace and drive, has shown he can deliver when focused, and capped his night with a wonderful volley from Omar Daley's deep cross in the 49th minute. Rooney then added two before Leon Osman drove through the Weiz defence to drill home an excellent finish, Tomasz Radzinski tapped in a Rooney cross before completing the rout with a similar strike from another Daley delivery.

In between the Jamaican international produced Everton's ninth, twisting away from three players before sending a great strike flying high past the broken keeper from 20 yards out.

But while this was a case of ten goals, it was a tale of one player.EVERTON: Gerrard (Simonsen, 45 mins); Hibbert, Weir (Clarke, 45 mins), Stubbs (O'Hanlon, 45 mins), Pilkington; Southern, Pembridge (Osman, 45 mins), Unsworth (Daley, 45 mins), McLeod; Rooney, Campbell (Radzinski, 45 mins).

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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 17, 2002
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