LONDON (AFP) –England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney declared himself “ecstatic” after completing a move back to Everton, the club where he first starred as a teenager.
The 31-year-old, who became a fringe figure under Jose Mourinho last season, signed a two-year contract on a free transfer, bringing the curtain down on 13 trophy-laden years at Old Trafford.
Rooney – whose move comes the day after United announced they had agreed terms with Everton over buying striker Romelu Lukaku – will hope the switch revives his international career which has also stalled.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“I have come back to Everton because I believe (Everton manager) Ronald Koeman is building a team that can win something and I look forward to playing my part in making that a reality for the club I have supported since a boy,” added Rooney, who was five times United’s leading scorer and on another occasion shared the honours with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Rooney said once he met with Koeman he knew there would be no other destination.
“I saw in his eyes that he wanted me to be part of his team,” said Rooney.
Koeman said in Rooney – who in his time at United won among other trophies five Premier League titles and a Champions League – he was buying a player with a surefire winner’s mentality.
“Wayne has shown me the 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,” said Koeman.
“He loves Everton and 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.”
Mourinho said he admired Rooney but understood his desire to play more football and return to his first club.