By 90Min
September 17, 2017

A story has emerged painting Wayne Rooney in an excellent light ahead of his return to Old Trafford on Sunday with Everton.

For all of his achievements at Manchester United, the 31-year-old was occasionally a controversial and divisive figure at the club. 

But there is no question of his altruistic nature after a story in the Observer, which tells of his act of generosity after discovering the club's medal policy prior to 2007.

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United were not willing to provide medals to coaches after trophies, instead simply offering a bonus of "a few hundred quid".

Former goalkeeper coach, Tony Coton, bemoaned the situation and later complained to Rooney. He retold the story in his autobiography, 'There to Be Shot at'.

The piece in the Observer reads: "One evening Wayne Rooney struck up a conversation with Coton and Mike Phelan, the first-team coach – 'Another one for the collection, hey, lads?' – as the players and staff were out celebrating the 2007 title. 'When we told him about Mr Merrett’s medal policy he was outraged,' Coton recalls. 'He couldn’t believe that a club like Manchester United could be so small‑time when it came to sharing out the spoils.'

"When all the relevant people came back from the summer, on the very first day of pre-season training, there were identical packages waiting for Coton and Phelan on their desks at the training ground. Nothing strange there. Every day, a supply of deliveries arrived at Carrington from sponsors and sportswear manufacturers offering freebies and all kinds of other perks. 

"But these boxes were particularly heavy. Inside, each contained a solid‑silver replica of the Premier League trophy, together with a note advising they were worth £5,000 for insurance purposes. All courtesy of Wayne Rooney."

Rooney was just 21-years-old at the time, and Coton admits he was "stunned" by his thoughtfulness. “They are absolutely beautiful pieces of work," he wrote. "But for me, their real value isn’t measured in monetary terms. It is the fact they were commissioned by Wayne that makes them so precious.”

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