Wayne Rooney out to 'prove a point' after returning to boyhood club Everton
After 13 years and five Premier League titles at Manchester United, the England forward is back where it all began.
Wayne Rooney has said he is not treating Goodison Park as a “retirement home” as Ronald Koeman rejected suggestions that he has signed a declining force by claiming the England forward is still young enough to excel for Everton.
Rooney, a lifelong Everton fan, was given the No 10 shirt last worn by Romelu Lukaku on his return to his boyhood club.
He is Manchester United’s 253-goal record scorer but only mustered five in the Premier League last season, bringing questions if he remains enough of a threat.
“I think I always play like I have got a point to prove,” Rooney said. “I am not coming into a retirement home.”
Manager Koeman has said he believes Rooney has the hunger and ability to excel.
“Thirty-one is still young for football," the Dutchman said. "The qualities and ambition he showed was enough to make me bring him back to Everton.”
An excited Rooney said it was a simple decision to rejoin his first club in a move which pleased his family.
“Once I knew Ronald was interested in bringing me back to Everton, it was really a no brainer,” he said. “My eldest lad [Kai] was the happiest of anyone. Also my dad. He is a huge Evertonian. He has gone to watch me for the last 13 years in Manchester and now he will have a five-minute drive to watch me.”
Rooney, who lost his place in the United side in September, admitted he found life on the bench at Old Trafford difficult, prompting him to seek a move.
“I enjoyed my time there but I needed to play more games,” he said. “I didn’t play that often last season. It was frustrating. It is a challenge which is the right time in my career.”
Rooney was dropped from the England squad and has set his sights on forcing his way back in.
“Hopefully my performances will be good enough for Everton that Gareth Southgate won’t be able to ignore me,” he said.
Everton have not won silverware since the 1995 FA Cup, which Rooney attended as a nine-year-old fan, and he has vowed to try and change that.
“That is why you play football: to try and win trophies, that is the target,” he said. “We don’t just want to limp around this season.”
Rooney won the Premier League five times and the Uefa Champions League once at Old Trafford and Koeman, who insisted his new signing can operate as a main striker, a No 10 or play off either flank, said that pedigree was a factor.
“That experience to win titles is something really important for Everton," he said. "That is one of the reasons we tried to bring Wayne back to Everton.”
Updated: July 10, 2017 07:47 PM