It took Wayne just 34 minutes to mark his return to his boyhood club, bending a stunning 30-yard strike past keeper Boniface Oluoch to break the deadlock in Everton’s 2-1 pre-season friendly win over Gor Mahia in Tanzania.
The goal was reminiscent of Wayne’s first ever league goal for the Blues against Arsenal in 2002, which prompted commentator Clive Tyldesley’s famous line ‘Remember the name: Wayne Rooney!’
The 31-year-old, who started up front on his Everton return and played 45 minutes before manager Ronald Koeman replaced his entire starting XI at half-time, told evertontv: “To score for Everton again is a great feeling. It’s something I’ve been thinking of for the last couple of weeks, once I knew [the move] was happening. Thankfully, I’ve done it in today’s game and that 45 minutes will only help.
“I just received the ball from out wide and I was in a bit of space so I took my chance and thankfully it went in. I was pleased with it. It’s a good start but I think we have to improve still. It’s early days and we knew it would be a tough game in tough conditions but I thought we did well.”
After Wayne fired Everton ahead, Jacques Tuyisenge then grabbed an equaliser for Gor Mahia minutes later. However, another spectacular strike – this time from Kieran Dowell – ensured the Blues beat their Kenyan opponents to cap a memorable trip to East Africa.
Wayne added: “The game was important to us in terms of building our fitness for the season and it was great to get a goal in my first game back,” added Rooney. It’s always important to win the game but I think the most important thing today was we all got a good 45 minutes under our belts. We’ve got a couple more games in Holland next week so we’ll look forward to them and make sure we are right for the start of the season.”
Ronald Koeman highlighted the impact of Wayne Rooney and declared himself pleased with his side’s efforts after a 2-1 win over Gor Mahia in Tanzania, he said: “Wayne is still one of the best in his position. He is a winner who knows how to win titles and we want that. We spoke about more productivity for the strikers and you saw what he did today. He can be a key player.”