Everton football club have hogged the limelight for most of this transfer window so far and that did not change yesterday when the Blues announced the return of their prodigal son Wayne Rooney after a 13-year dissociation.
‘Welcome Home Wayne‘ was the underlying message attached to every bit of information they put out on various social media outlets and it looked like everything was falling in place for Everton under the new ownership. The Blues, on top of what has been a busy summer – in terms of the sheer number of signings in a variety of different areas across the pitch, have managed to recruit a real ‘superstar name’ to bolster their image outside of the UK and further enhance their bargaining power, if you will, to help bring more through the door.
The first marquee signing is generally the hardest to complete and Everton have now laid the perfect foundation – with the right mixture of youth and experience – which includes multiple trophies winning experience now, which always helps in the big games when more than just 3 points are at stake.
Wayne Rooney is a serial winner and for all the criticism he received throughout the course of his remarkable career at United and some rightly so – in this writer’s opinion, the 31-year old’s desire and commitment to the cause was never ever in doubt.
Rooney has won the lot in his 13-year spell at Manchester United and has been a vital part of some of the best sides in England and for almost two years, Europe. So it was not really a surprise when the England international quickly drew attention to his boyhood club’s 22-year trophy drought in his very first interview after re-signing for Everton and almost vowed to put an end to it. He said,
“I am excited by the signings the club have made. The club is moving forward and I think this club deserves to [we], this club should be winning trophies. I think the last trophy was 1995 and we are taking huge steps to try and get involved and win some of them trophies.”
It is still unclear as to where Rooney will fit in at his new club under a manager who generally prefers athletic and hard-working footballers to play up top – and press from the front. That is not to say Rooney cannot match the work rate that Ronald Koeman expects from his attacking players and incidentally, criticized outgoing Lukaku for – on a fair few occasions, but it will be intriguing to see whether the 31-year would be leading the line for the Blues in the coming season.
But it was no secret that both Ronald Koeman and the club’s director of football Steve Walsh who comes with a strong reputation for smart player recruitment from his time at Leicester City, are both huge fans of bringing Rooney back to Merseyside, a move they opined that – will only make Everton stronger.
Rooney’s numbers in 2016/17 definitely pale in comparison to previous more prolific seasons, whilst he was in his absolute pomp, playing week in week out. But neither of that was the case last season, at Manchester United.
Yet he still managed to score some important goals in the cup competitions when he was fit and in the Premier League, he scored and assisted a total of 10 goals in just 15 starts, with four of those assists helping Ibrahimovic boost his goal tally – which suggests that much of what Wayne Rooney can produce, relies on the quality and variety of signings Everton can make to operate around and off his service, which has always been an underappreciated part of his game.
With a new challenge – both personal and professional, the likelihood of his individual record improving at Everton should be very high. There will be huge pressure on Wayne Rooney to endear himself to the Goodison crowd again and that could be achieved only by match-winning performances on the pitch.
Motivated by the pursuit to take his boyhood club to a position where they could compete for Champions League positions and domestic silverware year in year out and on a personal level, reclaiming his place in the England starting eleven ahead of the World Cup in Russia next summer, Rooney will most certainly be as focused and driven as he has ever been, at his new club.
Not to forget that Rooney is still only 31 and should the Dutchman manage him in such a way that the forward is not burnt out in the middle of the season, the rewards could be very much tangible both on and off the pitch resulting in exponential growth in the direction the club is headed already.