Plymouth to Hartlepool is a long way, but worth the trip for Louis Rooney

Louis Rooney goes around the Yeovil keeper.

Picture: TOM BANKS

Louis Rooney goes around the Yeovil keeper. Picture: TOM BANKS

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Isn’t it nice when a new player takes an instant love to Hartlepool United?

Louis Rooney could have enjoyed an armchair ride to League One with hometown club, Plymouth Argyle.

It is a long way but it’s all completely worth it

LOUIS ROONEY

But instead of watching the Pilgrims progress to an almost-inevitable promotion from the comfort of the bench, the 20-year-old has decided to up sticks and move to Hartlepool, where he made a promising debut against Yeovil last week.

It’s some distance, not just in the League Two standings, 16 places and 26 points, but in miles too – even Jeff Stelling would baulk at the prospect of 322 miles from Home Park to the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Rooney did not walk it but he was thrilled to make the journey for a deal whoch will keep him here until May.

The man who scored twice AGAINST Pools on his Plymouth debut on the final regulation Saturday of last season could not wait to get to the Vic.

“It is a long way but it’s all completely worth it,” he told SportMail. “I want to do this, I want to be playing football and I was willing to travel.”

Despite that brilliant start in a senior green and white jersey, it has not happened for the Argyle lad this season, playing three times, all from the bench, twice in the FA Cup and once in League Two.

Such is Plymouth’s quality, Rooney has only been able to watch and admire.

He’d love to see the Pilgrims reach League One after the heartbreak of losing in the Wembley play-off final last May.

But Pools are now his team!

“I want Argyle in the top three and promoted, that’s obviously the goal,” said the livewire forward.

“I fully support them, of course, but playing for Hartlepool is where my head is and I want to be reaching to get the highest place we can.”

Rooney enjoyed a very encouraging debut – he had a few sights of goal and led the line superbly, earning the support of the home fans in the process. He was man of the match to boot.

The Northern Ireland U21 striker was not expecting to be named in the starting XI against Yeovil, but was pleased boss Dave Jones placed his faith in him.

“It was my first start of the season,” he said.

“Yeah, to be fair, I was slightly surprised to be picked.

“I made a few appearances at Argyle as a sub but it was my first start. I was feeling my legs a bit at the end, but I’ll always keep running as long as I possibly can.”

He felt it should have been a winning debut.

“Definitely,” he said. “When you go 1-0 up you can go on to nick another or just hold on so I think we were unlucky not to win.”

His partnership with Padraig Amond looked very good, despite having only just met Pools’ leading scorer for the first time last Thursday.

“We’d only trained together twice, but I think we had a good combination, looking for each other with flicks or balls around the corner to link up,” said Rooney who will be paired with the Irishman up top tomorrow at Mansfield Town. “We created chances from that play.

“It was a great header for his goal, but he could have put it down to me and set me up for a shot!

“But, to be fair, he managed to hit the target pretty well himself.”

Rooney wasn’t the only new boy on debut at the Vic – teenager Sunderland attacker Andrew Nelson starring down the right, from where he set up Amond’s 11th goal of the campaign

“I’ve clicked with him,” added Rooney. “He did very well with his assist as well.

“It was obviously his first game at League Two as well and he impressed.”