Gillingham midfielder Luke Rooney has said scoring on his league debut is something he always dreamed about.
The 18 year old who has come through the Club’s Apprenticeship programme scored the Gills third goal in their 3-0 win over Exeter, four minutes after coming off the bench.
Talking about his dream debut he said;
“That’s all you really dream about when you’re growing up, playing in the Youth team. To make an impact and score is just unbelievable. I couldn’t believe it. I was waiting for the linesman to stick his flag up or something like that!”
“I had loads of time, I just settled myself and tried to put my foot through it and caught it well, and I looked up and it was straight into the top corner.”
The teenager revealed that he was thrilled to hear his name chanted, like his Premier League namesake Wayne Rooney.
“Obviously because there’s Wayne Rooney – they’ve already got a song so they just nicked that and it was brilliant when people are singing your name.”
Rooney is the latest teenage player that manager Mark Stimson has blooded in the first team this term.
Midfielder Jack Payne, 17, has already featured and Rooney believes the younger players at the Club have been encouraged by Stimson’s approach that “if you’re good enough, you’re old enough”.
“I think that’s a good philosophy,” he said. “Jack Payne at the start of the season did really well, obviously I’ve come in and scored and there’s a few others who’ve yet to come in.”
After his taste of the first team, Rooney’s ambition is now to earn himself a starting place in the side.
“Obviously the [transfer] window is shut now and the gaffer can only bring players in on loan. There’s an injury to Mark McCammon, so all you need is a couple of injuries and you could be in there.”
“If he thinks we’re good enough, which he’s shown by putting us into a Cup game, I might get to come into a league game and that would be brilliant.”