Friday 20 April 2018

Wayne Rooney enjoys "sweet moment" as he nets 200th Premier League goal

Wayne Rooney, left, celebrates scoring his 200th Premier League goal
Wayne Rooney, left, celebrates scoring his 200th Premier League goal

Everton forward Wayne Rooney netted a landmark 200th Premier League goal in the draw at Manchester City - a "sweet moment" that could soon be followed by an England return.

Frustrated at a lack of regular first-team opportunities at Manchester United, the 31-year-old this summer returned to his boyhood club after 13 record-breaking years at Old Trafford.

Rooney managed to put a smile on the face of his former and current club on Monday evening by opening the scoring at City - a 200th Premier League goal that would be cancelled out late on by substitute Raheem Sterling as the match finished 1-1.

Asked how sweet it was scoring at the Etihad Stadium, the Everton forward said with a laugh: "What, again?

"Of course, it was nice obviously with my history with Manchester United. I've scored a few times here.

"To do it today in such an important game for us, so early in the season, we've got tough games coming up, it was a sweet moment and I am sure the red half of Manchester will have enjoyed that one as well."

It was another promising display from rejuvenated Rooney, who ran further than any other Everton player on Monday evening.

"Well, it is not bad for someone who is not fit anymore and can't get about the pitch," he told Sky Sports. "No, I have always put a shift in for the team, I've always down that, and tonight was no different.

"Obviously towards the end it was getting tough for us, they were putting a lot of pressure, but I think it was a good result for us.

"We'll go back, look at it, and see what we could have done better, especially when they had 10 men."

Last season's lack of match fitness and form meant Rooney was omitted from England's last two meet-ups. The squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia will be named on Thursday and manager Gareth Southgate was at the Etihad Stadium for Monday's game.

"We'll see," Rooney said of his England chances. "I am focusing on Everton.

"I am sure I will speak to Gareth Southgate over the next few days and we'll have a conversation and see what happens."

Rooney is certainly enjoying life back at Everton and Ronald Koeman was full of praise for his summer signing.

"He is still that player what every manager needs in his team - and maybe more for Everton," the Toffees boss said. "He is back home.

"We have young players, we had three players of 20 years tonight on the pitch against City and they did a great job.

"He is that experienced player, he is that teacher for young players. "We like to win titles and he knows how you win titles and that is a big experience and a big step up for most of the players.

"Against Stoke (on the opening weekend) I was really pleased about his performance and also tonight because he has that cleverness to know exactly I every moment what is the best decision. He is that player and, okay, I am very happy about him."

Press Association

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