Rooney announced himself on the Premier League stage aged just 16, netting a sensational winner for his boyhood club Everton against Arsenal in October 2002. It was the first of 208 Premier League goals he would score, a total only Shearer has surpassed.
"When you do something as special as that at such a young age then the spotlight is going to be on you," says Shearer, an inaugural Hall of Fame inductee last year.
"He was a street kid who had a raw talent. He had a knack of scoring goals. He loved scoring goals. He loved scoring special goals.
"He leaves a huge legacy in the Premier League. Manchester United's greatest goalscorer. England's greatest goalscorer."
Rooney claimed five Premier League titles in a trophy-laden 13 years at Man Utd, following his switch to Old Trafford in the summer of 2004.
That relentless winning mentality was key for Rooney, who is inducted into the Hall of Fame this year alongside Patrick Vieira. A further six ex-players from a shortlist of 25 will join them after a public vote that opens later today and closes at 21:00 BST on Sunday 3 April.
"I hate losing, whether it's on a computer game, in training or in a game," Rooney says. "That will always be in me. It's how I was brought up.
"I won the first Premier League title and then won three in a row and got to three Champions League finals. That just gives you a feel that you just want to keep winning."
For Gary Neville, a Man Utd team-mate, there simply was no one to match his raw talent and technical ability in that position.
"No one should ever be in any doubt about the fact he was a world-class centre-forward," says Neville.
"Wayne Rooney is one of the greatest English football players that have played in the last 150 years of football. It's as simple as that."
As well as his 208 Premier League goals Rooney provided 103 assists, a tally beaten by only two players. He won the Player of the Month award five times and was named the Player of the Season for 2009/10.