Burnley under 18s defender Jake Rooney is determined to make the grade as a Premier League footballer, and to follow in the footsteps of cousin Wayne.
The 16-year-old has cemented himself as a regular starter in the under 18’s line-up this season, and he told UCLan Live how Wayne – England’s all-time leading scorer with 53 international goals – is a positive influence on him.
“He’s a very good inspiration,” said Jake.
“To look at England’s top scorer, it’s fascinating to see that he’s in my family.
“He’s always there for advice if ever I need it.”
Rooney has been part of a solid unit who have the second best defensive record in the Professional Development League, as the Clarets sit in fifth place.
And Rooney has made the most of his breakthrough, after he originally moved to Burnley from Tranmere Rovers in 2016.
A winning mentality is instilled in the youngster, who comes from a family of professional footballers – Wayne’s brother John has also played in the Football League and is currently at Barrow, top of the National League.
Burnley’s training regime is especially suited to his hard-working nature and he says it is completely different to his upbringing at Tranmere.
He said: “You’ve got a set routine everyday, so I’ll get in, have my breakfast, then gym, training, lunch and then training again.
“At Tranmere it could be different every week you see, and there wasn’t much training.”
Rooney’s Burnley have a trip to Leeds and a tie against league leaders Wigan Athletic in the coming weeks. However, it’s not just matters on the pitch he is solely focused on.
Rooney is firmly prepared to explore different avenues in the football industry if a playing career doesn’t work out – including an interest in being a physiotherapist.
He added: “Hopefully by doing my coaching badges here, it will let me still go onto the coaching side, but i’d like to go into physiotherapy as well.”