Wayne Rooney completes return to Everton on two-year deal
Forward leaves Manchester United after 13 years to rejoin boyhood club
A file photograph of Wayne Rooney from August 2015 during a pre-season match at Goodison Park. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Wayne Rooney has confirmed he has rejoined Everton from Manchester United. The 31-year-old has issued a statement to Press Association Sport thanking United for the past 13 years and expressing his happiness at returning to his boyhood club.
Rooney, who was filmed at Everton’s training ground on Saturday, left the Toffees for Old Trafford in 2004 and returns after winning five Premier League titles and a Champions League with United.
Everton announced Rooney had signed on a two-year deal for an undisclosed fee.
Rooney said: “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.
“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 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.”
Everton manager Ronald Koeman said: “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.
“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.”
Rooney burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old with Everton and moved to United in a £27 million deal two years later.
He has since been one of United’s most influential players and last season overtook Bobby Charlton’s record to become the club’s leading goalscorer. He leaves Old Trafford with 253 United goals to his name.
United manager Jose Mourinho said: “It is no secret that I have long been an admirer of Wayne. 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 began to fall down the pecking order at United last season and made just 15 Premier League starts.
He was linked with moves to China and the United States but, when it became apparent he would be leaving United, the chance to rejoin Everton always seemed the most appealing.
United’s interest in Everton striker Romelu Lukaku – for whom they have agreed a fee understood to be £75 million with the Merseysiders – helped ease the way for a return to Goodison Park.
Ed Woodward, United’s executive vice-chairman, said: “Wayne has been a fantastic servant to United since the moment he signed for us as a prodigiously talented, explosive teenager some 13 seasons ago.
“Who can forget his storybook debut hat-trick against Fenerbahce, the spectacular overhead kick against City and the countless match-winning performances in his time here? But after much discussion, the club has decided to accept his request to rejoin his boyhood team.
“He goes having created some of the most magical moments in some of the most successful years in the club’s history. Wayne leaves us as our greatest ever goalscorer and having won every major trophy in the game.
“His record will take decades for anyone to get close to matching and I am extremely grateful for the way he has led from the front since being appointed club captain three years ago.
“On behalf of the whole club and our hundreds of millions of fans around the world, we wish Wayne all the very best for the next phase of his incredible career.”
Rooney’s departure from Everton 13 years ago did cause resentment among fans but the player has never lost touch with his roots and has spoken about his love of Merseyside.
As time wore on, hatred towards Rooney from Evertonians eased and he even played for the club again in Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial in 2015.
His signing continues a busy summer at Everton with Rooney, also England’s record goalscorer, joining Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Henry Onyekuru, Nathangelo Markelo and Sandro Ramirez as new additions.