Reports linking Rooney with a hero’s return have flooded in throughout the season and now Toffees captain Phil Jagielka adds his view that, “he wouldn’t want to come back at the end when he wasn’t the player he once was. Wayne has high standards. He would want to come back and make a difference” fuelling speculation that if it is to happen, it will be sooner rather than later for the man turning 30 this year.
The England centre back will be charged with marking his national side team-mate when Manchester United make the short visit to Merseyside this weekend and understands that the place Wayne grew up has not been a happy hunting ground for him.
His deep-rooted love for Everton is behind the reason why he never plays well at Goodison Park, thinks Phil Jagielka, and that passion could yet see him return to his boyhood club in the near future.
Rooney’s side have won just four of their nine visit to Goodison Park since he moved to the Red Devils, drawing one and losing four, and part of this is down to Rooney not playing to his potential.
He has scored twice, though the last goal came seven years ago and he was even left out of the squad in 2010 as he was troubled with problems on and off the pitch.
Quoted in The Express, Jagielka said, “Yes, definitely, it’s difficult for Wayne. You can imagine being the age he was and him playing for the team he supported and then the big move to United. I’m sure he said a few things and did a few things as a young lad just to defend himself.
“I speak to him all the time and he’s always keen to know how we have got on – he’s still a big Evertonian. Obviously he has an affiliation with Manchester United, he has been there a long time, he’s the captain now, so you understand that – but he still loves the club.”
The England captain burst onto the scene for Everton in 2002, becoming the then youngest ever Premier League scorer, before moving to Manchester United in a deal worth £25m in 2004.
There has been a prevailing feel of anger from Toffees fans since Rooney’s departure after he revealed a t-shirt in an FA Youth Cup final which held the message, ‘Once a blue, always a blue’. Despite this, criticism has abated over the past few years and the striker’s love for the blue half of Liverpool could yet see him return to Goodison Park.
The England captain is 29 years of age and a move in the near future would see him contribute with the final of his peak years and could be the shot in the arm Everton need following a disappointing Premier League season. The Toffees were expected to challenge for a top four positon, but ended up flirting with relegation at one point.
That said, it’s unlikely anyone would bet against a top four challenge with Goodison’s most famous son back in their side.