Rooney back with a bang for Everton

[Photo: Courtesy]

Wayne Rooney rolled back the years for Everton as the England striker's clinical header sealed a 1-0 win over Stoke on his second Premier League debut for his boyhood club.

Rooney had already played one home game -- a Europa League qualifier against Ruzomberok -- in his second spell as an Evertonian following his close-season move from Manchester United.

But the 31-year-old's first Premier League appearance for the Toffees at Goodison Park since 2004 still felt like a landmark moment for the player and his club on Saturday.

And Rooney rose to the occasion, heading home in first half stoppage-time to collect his first Everton goal for 4,869 days -- when he netted against Leeds in April 2004.

That was enough for Ronald Koeman's team to start the new season with three points and Everton will hope the return of the prodigal son signals the start of a push into the Premier League's top four.

Koeman has spent over £90 million on new signings, with Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson likely to arrive soon, as he looks to fulfil that ambition.

Rooney's name had been cheered to the rafters when the Everton team, featuring fellow debutants Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez, was read out before kick-off.

Everton's spending spree is intended to off-set the loss of Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United and Rooney ensured the Belgian striker wasn't missed.

Stoke gave debuts to Darren Fletcher and Kurt Zouma and Mark Hughes' side almost took an early lead when Joe Allen released Mame Biram Diouf down the right for a cross-shot that Pickford blocked.

It took 20 minutes for Everton to get a shot on target and even then Idrissa Gueye's low drive was easily scooped up by Jack Butland.

Rooney dropped deeper into midfield in a bid to spark his team into life and immediately began to control the tempo, drawing a booking for Allen when he wriggled clear of the Stoke midfielder, who responded with a blatant tug.

In stoppage-time, Rooney once again took possession in midfield, quickly moving the ball wide before making a perfectly-time burst forward.

By the time Dominic Calvert-Lewin swung over a pin-point cross, Rooney had eluded the Stoke defence so completely that he had the freedom of the penalty area to bury a clinical header past Butland from 10 yards.

Sprinting towards the crowd in delight, Rooney slid to the turf to celebrate before he was mobbed by jubilant team-mates.

The glow from Rooney's 199th Premier League goal was almost erased when Fletcher went close to equalising after half-time with a stinging strike.

Calvert-Lewin nearly doubled Everton's lead when he robbed Zouma and cut into the penalty area for a drive that Butland pushed away.

Stoke laid siege to the Everton goal after sending on Peter Crouch and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in the closing stages.

A superb save from Pickford, denying Xherdan Shaqiri in the closing moments, ensured Rooney wasn't denied his winning return.

Next Story
LATEST STORIES
Manchester City striker the best in entire Europe, research reveals

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero is the best striker in Europe, sports-oriented research body known as CIES Football Observatory has revealed.

Mourinho leaves the press high and dry after misunderstanding with a journalist

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho walked out of his press conference pre-maturely, after he was bombarded with questions he considered unnecessary. Mourinho was addressing British media ahead of their midweek clash with Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday. One journalist asked the Portuguese coach about what transpired shortly after they played their rivals Manchester City, where reports emerged that a bust up between him, his players and City players ensued.

Kariobangi Sharks appoint former Leicester City coach

Kariobangi Sharks appoint former Leicester City coach

“This is so fixed,” Chelsea fans fume at former Liverpool star for setting up Barcelona draw

Chelsea fans took to social media to slate former Liverpool and Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso for intentionally pairing the club with La Liga giants Barcelona in the round 16 of Champions League. Alonso elicited harsh reaction from Chelsea fans, following the manner in which he picked up the ball from the bowl, which according many fans was deliberate. The Uefa Champions League draw somewhat dimmed Chelsea’s hopes of progression as they were handed Barcelona-a team they last played in 2012 semifinals.

Surprise Premier League club move into fourth place and everyone can’t stop talking

Premier League club move into fourth place and everyone can’t stop talking

“He is a boss,”Drogba praises Mohammed Salah

Chelsea legend Didier Drogba has revealed the texts he received from Mohamed Salah during the Egyptian's time at Stamford Bridge. Salah was recently crowned BBC African Footballer of the Year following a series of incredible displays for Liverpool.

More Stories
Sevilla star forced to apologize for wearing controversial shin pads during Real defeat

Sevilla midfielder Guido Pizarro had some explaining to do after he was spotted wearing Cristiano Ronaldo shin pads during his side's defeat to Real Madrid. TV cameras filmed the bright pink pads next to his folded shirt ahead of the game, sparking a frenzy on social media.

Chelsea squad vs Huddersfield leaked as key names miss out

Striker Alvaro Morata will miss Chelsea's Premier League clash at Huddersfield through fatigue and a back issue. Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is poised to rotate his options as he seeks an immediate response to the loss at West Ham, but Morata is not available. Midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko could also be rested after

Trouble piles on Chelsea as key player is set miss Huddersfield clash

Chelsea Coach Antonio Antonio Conte has revealed that Spanish striker Alvaro Morata will miss their clash with newly promoted premier league side Huddersfield tonight. Antonio Conte’s men will be aiming to bounce back after a disappointing 1-0 loss against West Ham on Saturday, which left them 14 points adrift of the league leaders Manchester City.

Alvaro Morata shares wife’s baby bump on social media and showers her with praises

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata is to become a father after revealing wife Alice Campello has fallen pregnant. The Blues hitman shared an intimate Instagram snap of him kissing his other half's stomach to announce the pair are expecting a child.

"It's offensive!" Arsene Wenger shows Jose Mourinho rare support

Arsene Wenger has shown support for Jose Mourinho following the dressing-room spat that followed the Manchester derby. Players from both Manchester sides clashed in the tunnel after Man City's 2-1 win over Man United, after Mourinho entered the away dressing-room.

PSG wants Neymar back for action soon

Paris Saint-Germain are hoping Neymar will return from Brazil in three or four days after he travelled home for personal reasons, coach Unai Emery said on Monday. "We gave him permission to make this journey. I hope he will come back in three or four days' time," Emery said. The coach said Neymar approached him as the PSG squad was preparing for Saturday's Ligue 1 match against Lille.

Kenya wins against Tanzania to proceed to the semifinals of Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup

Kenya’s Harambee Stars have qualified for the semifinals of the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup 2017, after beating neighbours Tanzania by a single goal

IOC upbeat on 2022 Olympic preparation

Tokyo organisers are back on track and will complete their 2020 Olympic venues on schedule, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said Monday at the start of a three-day visit. After bungling the rollout of the showpiece Olympic stadium two years ago, local organisers have come under scrutiny but last month unveiled their first new permanent venue for the 2020 Olympics in a welcome public relations boost.

Neymar headed to Brazil for 'personal matters'

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is urgently travelling to Brazil due to "personal matters", the Brazilian company that manages the footballer's career said on Sunday.

Kenya’s hope of qualification hinges on Zanzibar-Libya match

Having won the first match against Rwanda, before settling for draws in next matches against Libya and Zanzibar, Harambee Stars are now staring at more than hard work to turn things around and proceed to the semifinals.