England’s golden boy Wayne Rooney is set to become one of the world’s highest earning players, according to football finance experts. Industry analysts predict the Everton striker – who won rave reviews after his full England debut in the 2-0 victory over Turkey – has the potential to earn as much as £8m a year by the time he hits his peak.

Growing payments from worldwide television rights and a lucrative image rights clause in his £15,000-a-week contract means he is due to enter an elite group of highly paid footballers.

Finance consultant James Dow, of Dow Schofield Watts, said Rooney is perfectly positioned to benefit from Everton’s growing commercial contacts with the Far East. Last year, the club launched a Mandarin language website which Mr Dow believes can earn the club and its star player millions of pounds in payments through foreign viewing rights via the internet.

He said: “At the moment £33m is earned through foreign viewing rights compared with £500m paid in the UK. “With the right internet technology, the money earned through foreign viewing rights of the English Premier League could soar.

“If it approached the £500m currently being made in the UK, then each club would stand to earn between £10m and £15m. “The majority of that would be paid straight to players. One could comfortably assume the top players would receive £8m. “For Rooney it all depends on whether internet technology can be cracked during his playing career. If so, he stands to greatly benefit.”

The striker received a standing ovation from England fans after his first full cap on Wednesday night, and football pundits are speculating over whether he can go on to become one of the country’s all-time great players. Comparisons are already being drawn with the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Pele who burst onto the international scene in their teens.

Dr Rogan Taylor, from the University of Liverpool’s Football Industry Group, said: “This looks like a very promising 17-year-old and people are now wondering whether we have found another Gascoigne. “However, greatness in the mould of Pele and Maradona is about making the most of potential and then sustaining it.” Rooney will be paid a “substantial” bonus this month by his club for earning his first international cap .

EFC remain tight-lipped about the size of the financial reward but it is understood the 17-year-old’s contract includes bonuses if Everton win the Premiership or European silverware or if he plays in a World Cup winning England side.

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