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Wayne Rooney Wonder Everton return

Wayne Rooney Wonder Everton return
Wayne Rooney scored a spectacular goal on his return to Everton as they beat Gor Mahia 2-1 in pre-season. Pictures courtesy of multigist.com

Wayne Rooney made a goalscoring return for Everton on Thursday and could yet become a key piece of the puzzle under Ronald Koeman.

He took just 34 minutes to open his Toffees’ account for a second time, sending the Tanzania National Stadium wild with a vintage Rooney strike.

His new team eventually beat Gor Mahia 2-1 thanks to another brilliant finish – this time by academy star Kieran Dowell – as Koeman’s side opened their pre-season campaign with a victory.

We have picked out three talking points from Rooney’s first appearance back in an Everton shirt…

Attacking intent

True to his word, Koeman picked Rooney up front against the Kenyan Premier League leaders suggesting any midfield experiment started at Old Trafford is unlikely to continue at Goodison Park.

As Manchester United and England’s record goalscorer, that decision seems logical. Give him a sight of goal and Rooney is a threat.

He barely needed even that against Gor Mahia, opening the scoring with a stunning hit from 30 yards. Rooney was allowed room to turn and having assessed his options, he left goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch no chance.

Always capable of the spectacular, Everton fans will hope it is a taste of more to come.

Wayne Rooney scored a stunner as Everton beat Gor Mahia of Kenya in a pre-season friendly. Pictures courtesy of Everton TV.

It’s not a stretch to see similarities between Thursday’s strike and his famous goal scored for his boyhood club against Arsenal all those years ago.

That was a 16-year-old Rooney playing in very different circumstances and against significantly stronger opposition, but this recent finish was a reminder – if one was needed – that he remains a gifted player.

It was his only effort on goal before he was replaced at the break as Everton toiled in the heat throughout the first half in Dar es Salaam.

But not many players have the skill – never mind the audacity – to score from such range. Returning to the Premier League, that kind of magic could make the difference in tight games.

Plenty to work on

The idea of Rooney harrying and stretching Premier League defences is a little far-fetched now but some of his touches in the final third betrayed his vision and class.

Still, it was far from a perfect performance – Everton were considerably better when Rooney was off the pitch in the second half – with his replacement Dominic Calvert-Lewin able to profit from the dynamic Tom Davies and Idrissa Gueye in midfield.

Wayne Rooney is hugged by a Manchester United fan in Tanzania during Everton’s friendly

Wayne Rooney is hugged by a Manchester United fan in Tanzania during Everton’s friendly

Rooney is unlikely to recover the physical qualities that made him such a danger to opposition defences and Calvert-Lewin was more effective operating in the lone striker role vacated by Romelu Lukaku.

But Rooney was not signed to replace Lukaku. His remit will be to support and in that regard he looked bright, especially when linking up with Ademola Lookman.

One move in particular caught the eye, Rooney playing a neat one-two with England’s U20 World Cup winner only for Lookman to stumble at the crucial moment.

Overall it was a positive start for Rooney, making his first appearance just four days after signing for the cl

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