'Going into the home dressing room again was a bit weird' - Wayne Rooney on Everton return
Published 03/08/2015 | 12:22
Wayne Rooney returned to Goodison Park to play in an Everton team for the first time in 11 years - and was delighted with the warm welcome he received.
The Manchester United and England captain is a lifelong Everton supporter and came up through the ranks with the Toffees before leaving for Old Trafford in 2004.
He has since gone on to win five Premier League titles and the Champions League - but he was often subject to jeers and negative chants when returning to his former club with United.
On Sunday he turned out for Duncan Ferguson's testimonial match against Villarreal, playing the final 15 minutes alongside the retired forward who he idolised.
"I was delighted with the fans' reaction," Rooney said after the game.
"I didn't know what to expect but it was great for me and my kids, to see me once in an Everton shirt. It brought back some good old memories.
"I enjoyed it. It is nice to come back here and the fans gave me a great reception which obviously I was delighted with."
There was to be no grand return for either Rooney or Ferguson as goals from Gerard and Nahuel put Villarreal two goals up before young defender Ty Browning scored a late consolation as the visitors won 2-1.
Rooney struck a marvellous effort as he looked to mark his emotional homecoming with a goal - but the 29-year-old was more bothered about the memorable day for Ferguson.
"It was nice to get some minutes on the pitch alongside Duncan," Rooney added.
"I saw a bit of space and thought I would try my luck, unfortunately it didn't go in but it was a great occasion and great to get out on the pitch with Duncan again.
"Most importantly it was a big day for Duncan and he really enjoyed the game and it was good to see him back on the pitch.
"Of course, it was a bit different today. Going into the home dressing room again was a bit weird at first. I didn't know what to expect with the reception but it was great and I really appreciate it."