Hat-trick hero Wayne Rooney hails his greatest goal as Everton lift the gloom
Wayne Rooney scored one of the goals of this or any other Premier League season as Everton ended their miserable run with a thumping 4-0 win against relegation rivals West Ham at Goodison Park.
Restored to the Everton starting line-up after his omission by caretaker boss David Unsworth at Southampton on Sunday, Rooney turned on the style in front of his new manager Sam Allardyce, who was looking on from the stands.
Rooney scored two first half goals to edge Everton into a dominant position, yet it was his third goal that will be replayed time and time and time again.
With West Ham keeper Joe Hart off his line, Rooney unleashed a fizzing shot from the half-way line that arrowed into the unguarded goal to spark wild celebrations among the home supporters.
The strike revived memories of David Beckham's famous long-range strike for Manchester United at Wimbledon back in 1996 and Rooney's memorable long-range effort against West Ham for United in March 2014.
It was a goal that confirmed Rooney still has plenty to offer new boss Allardyce when he officially takes charge at Everton on Thursday, with this victory a major lift to Everton's flagging spirits.
Asked if he had ever netted a goal better than that, the 32-year-old told BT Sport: "I don't think so.
"It's one of, if not, the best goal I've scored. I hit it as well as I've ever kicked a football. To make it my first hat-trick for Everton, I'm delighted."
Rooney goal of the season for the hat trick!— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) November 29, 2017
Captain for the night Rooney's first goal came in the 18th minute as he headed in on the follow-up after his penalty was saved by Hart, and he slotted home his second 10 minutes later.
Jordan Pickford then saved Manuel Lanzini's spot-kick just before the hour mark, and after Rooney's outrageous effort from distance, Ashley Williams added a 78th-minute header.
The win, which moved Everton up from 17th to 13th in the Premier League, was only their second in eight matches since David Unsworth stepped up from the under-23s to take caretaker charge following the sacking of Ronald Koeman.
Allardyce, sat alongside Everton's major shareholder Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright at the game, will surely have taken great encouragement from what he saw hours after the club had announced he was to finalise terms on becoming their new manager.
Rooney said of Allardyce: "Of course he'll be pleased, but for us as a team, as a club, it was important for us to show some pride. As David Unsworth said, we've been hurting."
He added: "We've got to give thanks to David Unsworth. He's stepped in at a difficult time for the football club, he's a true Everton person.
"I'm delighted for him we've got this victory because it's an important win for the club but also for David Unsworth.''
Wayne Rooney scores his first Everton hat-trick and his 9th hat-trick overall - also the 200th time an Everton player has scored 3 or more goals in a game pic.twitter.com/2Oj7V3w1gk— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) November 29, 2017