Wayne Rooney opts for Everton

Wayne Rooney opts for Everton

Wayne Rooney has insisted that life at Manchester United had not gone ‘stale’ but admits the lack of game-time under Jose Mourinho was a key factor in his decision to leave for Everton. The 31-year-old spoke to the press for the first time since sealing an emotional return to Goodison Park on Monday afternoon and addressed speculation that his final few months at Old Trafford were something of a struggle. Although he admitted sitting on the bench was frustrating, Rooney said that he maintained his role as club captain to the best of his ability and stayed positive throughout.

Rooney said on life at United: ‘It hadn’t gone stale, but I needed to play more games. I didn’t play that often and it’s obviously frustrating. My whole career, I’ve played and it was the first time I was on the bench and it’s not me. I need to play.’When I wasn’t playing, it was frustrating but obviously I was captain of Manchester United so I had to stay positive. It was tough but that’s football. Some players will accept not playing for a few weeks but that’s not me.’

Thirteen years after leaving Goodison Park for Manchester United, where he subsequently won every honour in the English game and became the Red Devils’ all-time leading scorer, Rooney was back in Blue after agreeing a free transfer.

And while he is undoubtedly moving into the twilight of a successful career, Rooney said he does not see his move to Goodison Park as a ‘retirement home’ and is even aiming to break the club’s 22-year trophy drought next season. Not only that, but there was a suggestion from England’s all-time leading goalscorer that a return to the international set-up was on his mind.

He said: ‘I always play like I have got a point to prove. I’m not coming back into a retirement home. I feel good. I’m not fit at the minute but it will build up in the next few weeks. I’m ready for it. With Ronald’s ideas and the players that we are bringing in… it’s on us. It’s up to us to make sure [we win trophies].’There were other options, but once I knew Ronald was interested in bringing me back to Everton it was really a no-brainer. It was the only place I was going to be playing my football.’

On England, he said: ‘To be honest, I’m not focused on it. I’m focused on doing well for Everton and if I do that Gareth Southgate will have a decision on whether to put me back in the squad or not. If my performances are good enough for Everton them I’m sure he won’t be able to ignore me.’


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