Wayne Rooney has spoken of the “calming influence” he can have on Everton’s young talent.
The 31-year-old is one of English football’s most decorated players – holding the Three Lions appearances record for an outfield player at 119 caps, topping the all-time national team scoring charts with 53 goals, and enjoying a trophy-laden career to date which has included five Premier League titles, one Champions League, one FA Cup and a Europa League medal.
The forward returned to his boyhood club last week from Manchester United, signing a two-year deal, and took little time to show his abilities with a glorious 30-yard goal in Thursday’s 2-1 friendly win against Kenyan champions Gor Mahia in Tanzania.
As well as what he can offer on the pitch, the Academy graduate believes he has a key role to play off it in helping guide the Club’s youngsters as they look to break into Ronald Koeman’s first team.
“I’ve got a lot of experience playing football throughout the years but it’s a new experience again,” Rooney told evertonfc.com. “Coming into a new dressing room, all the players have left since I was here.
“I feel I can bring a style of football on the pitch and a calming influence on some of the younger lads as well. I’m sure they’ll have an influence on me as well, the younger lads and the ones already here.
“My focus is on helping this team win and if I can do that by supporting the younger players we have here then that’s what I’ll do.”
Rooney has captained England on 23 occasions, after first being given the armband in 2014, and boss Koeman has told how the “winner” can influence everyone in the Blues’ dressing room.
The forward reiterated how the Dutchman played a key part in bringing him back to Goodison.
“Hearing what Ronald had to say towards the end of last season – because then I wasn’t really thinking about returning as I didn’t know if it could happen,” added Rooney. “His comments made me think ‘can it happen?’ And then throughout the summer I was working out where I was going to go.
“As soon as spoke to my agent I said, ‘Listen, you need to speak to Everton, see if it can happen’. He said it could so I told him to speak to the Club and get it done as quickly as possible. It’s happened, I’m delighted and I’m ready to go.”