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|BROWN DELIGHTED WITH ROONEY-MARK TWO
While Wayne Rooney was being crowned FIFPro's Young Player of the Year last week, his cousin Thomas netted his first goal for the Nationwide North's bottom side Vauxhall Motors.
The 20-year-old from Croxteth in Liverpool recently signed for the Motormen, in a career that has taken a very different path to that of his famous relative.
Despite playing with Wayne at under-13s youth team East Villa, Thomas has yet to fully establish himself after spells with Tranmere Rovers and Macclesfield Town.
And the boyhood Evertonian admits that trying to ply his trade in the football world with the name Rooney can at times be a burden.
He said: “I do find my name works against me because people are always keen to draw parallels with Wayne. It can be quite annoying, although I'm obviously happy that Wayne has done so well.
“I sometimes speak to him about football and what it's like playing in the Premiership and he's always keen to hear how I'm getting on.
“But I can't try and copy Wayne. I've got to focus on my own career and get people to notice Thomas Rooney.”
Thomas made his debut for the Motormen against Northwich Victoria last week and scored against Ramsbottom United in Vauxhall's weekend FA Cup win and he is hoping that the move to Rivacre Park can reinvigorate his career and give him the platform to show people what he can do.
He said: “I'm delighted to sign for Vauxhall because I already know most of the lads here and they have all told me what a great coach Owen Brown is.
“I'm hoping I can play more regularly here, score some goals and help Vauxhall climb the table.”
After shining alongside Wayne at East Villa, Thomas signed schoolboy terms with Tranmere Rovers at the age of 13, where he remained until Rovers boss Brian Little released him in July 2003.
However, Little has continued to monitor his progress and believes Vauxhall have made an astute signing.
He said: “He left us for Macclesfield because we couldn't offer him first-team football. The reports I had on him said he did well for their reserves. Again, he didn't play as often as he would have liked and so it is nice to see him sign for a good club like Vauxhall.
“He's an improving player and sometimes it's better to drop down a level or two to give yourself a chance to learn, play and move up the football ladder. I'm sure he'll be a success there.”
Despite scoring 18 goals in 22 games for Macclesfield reserves, Thomas made just two substitute appearances for the Silkmen and but found himself searching for a new club at the end of the season.
After training with Welsh Premier champions Total Network Solutions during the summer, a call from Owen Brown (pictured) convinced the striker to drop into the Nationwide North, a coup the manager is delighted with.
He said: “We signed Tom because he's a different type of striker to what we have got. I'm expecting big things from him and that's not because of his name!
“He's someone I've kept an eye on and known through my connections with youth football. He'll give us another option as most of our strikers like to play off someone and his strength and size would benefit us.
“He's a great addition to the squad and could be the spark we need to kick-start our season.”
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