When Wayne Rooney returned to his boyhood club Everton this summer most football fans were left with something of a warm and fuzzy feeling. Thirteen seasons after leaving for Manchester United, the former England captain has come home.
To argue that the move to Old Trafford was anything but wildly successful for the Liverpool native would be folly. Five Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a Champions League and a Europa League, among others and it is clear that Rooney’s 2004 move to Manchester was a roaring success.
As the years passed and the contracts grew, the now 31-year-old saw his financial future settled many times over. The only problem was a steady decline in form.
Having enjoyed the moniker of ‘England’s greatest ever homegrown striker’, Rooney’s is a highlight reel of stunning goals generously spread throughout his 250 plus goals for United.
As his powers waned, however, so too did his confidence. His return to Goodison Park has been heralded as a new dawn for the striker and a chance to show his skills are still intact in front of goal.
Earlier this week, he duly obliged with this stunning strike for the Toffees in their pre-season friendly with Gor Mahia.
On Friday, Everton, via their Twitter account, sent out a reminder that they are no strangers to Rooney’s magic, with this incredible split shot of the then teenager scoring an almost identical effort against Arsenal in 2002.
— Everton (@Everton) July 14, 2017
There aren’t many out there who don’t want to see the United legend succeed with his boyhood club. He has been a servant of the game both for club and country and to see him return to his best and silence his critics before his career winds down would be something few would deny him.
Besides, who doesn’t want to see goals of this calibre in the Premier League?
Listen to the latest episode of The Mixer, Pundit Arena’s Irish football podcast, where Shelbourne manager Owen Heary was our guest.