Former Everton defender Alessandro Pistone remembers Wayne Rooney as a ‘phenomenon’ and Paul Gascoigne as his ‘No 1’ teammate.
Pistone played over 100 times for Everton between 2000 and 2007 and shared a dressing room with both Rooney, who went on to become England’s all-time top goalscorer and Lazio cult hero Gascoigne, widely considered as one of football’s most flawed geniuses.
“Gazza? He’s No 1 and he played like the greats,” the ex-Inter man told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“He didn’t play much [at Everton] due to injuries and off-field stuff, but he was someone that you couldn’t not love.
“He was a great guy to have around, but he had some big personal problems.
“Rooney? He left Everton’s academy when he was 16 years old. He joined us at the beginning of the [2002-03] season and had an incredible preseason.
“You could tell he was a phenomenon in those preseason games. He’d come from an outlying area of Liverpool, which wasn’t easy for him.
“However, in addition to being a fantastic lad for his humility and application during that time, he wasn’t like the Gazza I knew at the end of his career.
“Do I miss England? From a professional point of view, I’d go back there tomorrow, but for the lifestyle of going to the pub at half 5, no.
“However, I also forged friendships that carry on today.”
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