Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Rooney returns to boyhood club Everton

Published:Monday | July 10, 2017 | 7:00 AM
Rooney.

LIVERPOOL, England (AP):

Wayne Rooney rejoined boyhood club Everton yesterday after 13 years at Manchester United, leaving English football's biggest club as its record scorer, having won every major trophy.

The 31-year-old Rooney, the most recognised and scrutinised English footballer, has been getting accustomed to a reduced status after losing his starting place in the United team and dropping out of the national team squad.

A return to Everton, where he made his name as a dynamic teenager, signals a fresh start.

"It is some time since I said that the only Premier League club I would play for other than Manchester United was Everton, so I am delighted that the move has happened," Rooney said after signing a two-year contract. "Thirteen years ago, I went to United with the intention of winning trophies, and I have been fortunate to be a part of one of the most successful periods in the club's history."

The striker will now be a central figure once again in a team that is looking to break the Premier League's elite under coach Ronald Koeman.

"I have come back to Everton because I believe Ronald Koeman is building a team that can win something," Rooney said, "and I look forward to playing my part in making that a reality for the club I have supported since a boy."

Everton is on the verge of selling Romelu Lukaku to United but has signed goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, centre back Michael Keane, midfielder Davy Klaassen and striker Sandro Ramirez this off season. Everton's majority shareholder since February 2016, Iranian-British businessman Farhad Moshiri, wants to take the team higher than last season's sixth place.

"Wayne has shown me that ambition that we need and that winning mentality - he knows how to win titles and I'm really happy he's decided to come home," Koeman said. "He loves Everton and he was desperate to come back. He is still only 31 and I don't have any doubts about his qualities. It's fantastic he's here."

Rooney scored a record 253 goals for United after moving from Everton for £27 million as an 18-year-old in 2004, winning the Premier League title five times, the FA Cup once, the League Cup three times, the Champions League once and the Europa League last season. He is also England's record scorer with 53 goals.

He was a peripheral figure at United last season in Jose Mourinho's first year in charge, starting only 15 league games, and wasn't included in the national team's most recent squad.