LONDON: England and Manchester United’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney completed a move back to his first club Everton on Sunday.
The 31-year-old — who had become a peripheral figure under Jose Mourinho last season — signed a two year contract on a free transfer according to the BBC 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 their leading scorer Romelu Lukaku — will hope the switch also revives his international career which also stalled last season.
“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 in a statement to The Press Association.
“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.”
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 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,” said Koeman.
“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.”
Mourinho for his part said he admired Rooney but understood both his desire for playing more football and to return to the club that nurtured his talent.
“It is no secret that I have long been an admirer of Wayne,” said Mourinho.
“He has been a model professional throughout his time at the club and will remain in the history books for many years to come.
“It is never easy to see a great player playing less football than he would like and I could not stand in his way when he asked to go back to Everton.
“His experience, focus and determination will be missed and I wish him well for the future.”
Rooney, who had at one point been linked with a move to China though interest cooled, largely had a season to forget last year.
He made just 15 Premier League starts — and came on in another 10 — and was a non-used substitute in the League Cup win over Southampton and was sent on in the 90th minute of the 2-0 victory over Ajax in the Europa League final.