Wayne Rooney says he can’t wait to fulfil his childhood dream of playing for Everton in Europe in Thursday’s Europa League tie against MFK Ruzomberok.
Rooney won the Champions League and Europa League during his trophy-filled spell with Manchester United, but the visit of Slovakian side Ruzomberok to Goodison Park will still rank as one of the more memorable moments of the 31-year-old’s glittering career.
Rooney, who left Everton to join United in 2004, is a life-long fan of the Merseyside club and his move back to Goodison Park earlier in the close-season will allow him to live out his ambition of wearing the Toffees’ blue shirt in continental competition.
It may only be a Europa League third-round qualifier, but Rooney is relishing his first competitive home match as an Everton player for 13 years.
“Something I always wanted to do was play in Europe with Everton,” Rooney said.
“I was a bit disappointed not to do that before but now I’ll have a chance. Obviously I won the trophy last year so I’m hoping as a club we can go far and, you never know, try to win it. It would be even better.
“The first game back will be an emotional day for me and I’m looking forward to it. Overall, I’m looking forward to the season, hopefully getting back playing regularly and trying to help this club move forward.”
Rooney briefly returned to Goodison for Duncan Ferguson’s testimonial in 2015 but his last appearance on his ‘home’ ground for Everton was against Bolton Wanderers in May 2004.
“You always get that feeling when you’re walking out the tunnel so to actually do it again in an Everton shirt will be a special moment for me,” Rooney added.