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Wordsmith discovers the green in Rooney’s roots 11.11.13

WAYNE Rooney could well be wooed by Martin O'Neill into the green jersey thanks to his ancient lineage as descendant of an Irish chief.
The Manchester United and England striker's surname was researched as part of the 'Origins of Words' slot on popular Channel Four word game 'Countdown'.
Lexicographer Susie Dent described the historical meaning of Rooney's ancient Irish name as "pretty appropriate" to his winning ways on the football pitch.
"Wayne Rooney - Irish descent as you would guess. His surname is, as I said, pretty appropriate. It comes from the Gaelic meaning 'the descendant of the champion' and the champion in question would have been the chief of the clan back in the day," said the popular wordsmith.
She provided further food for thought for the new Ireland manager with the ancestral origins of Rooney's team-mate Michael Carrick.
"The midfielder Michael Carrick's kinsmen would have had noble knightly status because 'carrick' (Irish: carraig) comes from an ancient Gaelic word meaning 'rock', so they were 'steadfast fighters'," she added.
The 'Countdown' stalwart also found a "very fitting" old Gaelic meaning in the surname of former Man United boss, Alex Ferguson.
"Ferguson is made up of 'fear' meaning man and 'gus' which meant 'vigour or force' so he was the son of a warrior and a very successful one," she said.
The forefathers of Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard were also found to be good on the battlefield.
"(His) ancestors were 'brave spearmen'. 'Gerry' meant spear while 'hard' meant 'valiant and strong'."
Meanwhile, Chelsea ace Frank Lampard takes his name from 'land of the bright' "a good motto when he next plays for England”.
And the double-barrelled moniker of England and Arsenal star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was also explored.
Ms Dent found that 'Oxlade' had its origins in 'the island where cattle were kept' while the very early Chamberlains "were in charge of their lords’ private bedrooms".
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