Everton boss Ronald Koeman has explained why he brought Wayne Rooney back to Goodison Park after 13 years at Manchester United, noting that the 31-year-old had the right mentality to succeed under his tutelage.
The Englishman completed a move to his boyhood club last weekend for an undisclosed fee, signing a two year deal with the Toffees.
Tributes from fellow players, former teammates and supporters have poured in to commemorate a career that saw Rooney win every trophy at club level and become the club’s all-time top goalscorer.
And Koeman, when explaining Rooney’s transfer, noted that the former Man United captain had the perfect attitude to take Everton to the next level.
“Wayne has shown me the ambition that we need and that winning mentality,” he said. “He knows how to win titles and I’m really happy he’s decided to come home.”
“He loves Everton and was desperate to come back. He’s still only 31 and I don’t have any doubts about his qualities.
“It’s fantastic that he’s here. He knows how to win titles and don’t forget the experience he will give to the rest of the team.
“He’s an experienced player. We have a lot of young players and, sometimes in life, you need somebody who you look up to, who you learn from.
“One of the functions for Wayne is to show the rest of the team why he is – and still is – that player.”
Everton are not messing around in this transfer window. They are very openly building something very exciting – a team capable of not just being plucky in that typically Everton way where they pinch a few points off top sides at home, but actually competing with the very best over a prolonged period.
And signing Rooney, the man with 12 major honours to his name, is Koeman’s biggest move yet. How often he will play remains to be seen; his final campaign at Old Trafford revealed that playing on a weekly basis is no longer the cakewalk it used to be, but having him at the nucleus of that dressing room will be huge for when it comes to instilling a sharper, more bloodthirsty approach next year.