The boy from Liverpool’s Coxteth – where legend would have it, the cops only patrol in threes – has come home, back to the Merseyside club he followed as a kid.
And by all indications, multimillionaire footballer Wayne Rooney is revelling in the rebirth of his game from the years since the 2002-2003 season, which he had spent in a Manchester United jersey after being snapped up from Everton by Alex Ferguson in a £25.6 deal, thus becoming the most expensive 18-year-old player on the planet.
Rooney had started playing for the Toffees as a nine-year-old in the Everton youth sides and while his major successes – the record goal scorer for the England national team with 53 in 119 caps and for Manchester United with 253 and 16 trophies, including five Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the Champions League in 2008 – came at Old Trafford, his heart remained across Stanley Park at Goodison.
He is on record more than once as saying that Everton was the only Premier League side he would consider playing for if he left Old Trafford. Now, he has made good the boast after leaving Manchester on a free transfer.
And the way he has started out – it is difficult to argue with goals in both opening two league games – things look considerably brighter for Everton than when they were the dominant side along the River Mersey, before the days when Bill Shankly arrived and turned Liverpool from a second-tier team into the dominant side of the ’60s by introducing the squad system, his innovative training systems, the fabled think tank of the boot room and instilling his own ethos of “winning isn’t everything; it’s more important than that”.
With Icelandic star Gylfi Sigurdsson on board in an Everton shirt alongside Rooney, there are signs that the Toffees could have taken the first step towards reclaiming pre-eminence in the city Shankly usurped from them.
In truth, Rooney’s perpetual motion style in midfield or up front could provide a critical foil to Sigurdsson’s penchant for getting goals and his studied, cerebral play.
It is almost as if they were fated to play together. He has come a long way from Coxteth, but at 31, the boy is back at his spiritual home.