Rooney One Of Four Debutants

by Paul McNamara

Wayne Rooney will make his second Everton debut in tonight’s Europa League third round qualifying clash with MFK Ruzomberok.

There are also Blues bows for Davy Klaassen ­– playing in the competition again two months after being part of the Ajax side beaten in last season’s final by Manchester United – Cuco Martina and Michael Keane.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin is handed the chance to take his form from the summer’s Under-20 World Cup into the new campaign, with the former Sheffield United player set to feature in an attacking trio behind Rooney, playing in an Everton shirt at Goodison for the first time since May 2004 – and 15 years after his first appearance for the Club.

Maarten Stekelenburg starts in goal, with Jordan Pickford joined on the bench by fellow new boy Sandro Ramirez.

Ashley Williams partners Keane in the middle of defence, while captain Leighton Baines slots into his customary left-back slot.

The Blues’ midfield two will be comprised of Morgan Schneiderlin and Idrissa Gana Gueye.

Klaassen is set for a role directly in behind Rooney, with Calvert-Lewin and Kevin Mirallas operating on the flanks.

“I took the decision to start with Wayne tonight because the boys who were at the European Under-21 Championships have only trained for eight days and the other players have worked longer,” said Everton boss Ronald Koeman. 
“There is no doubt over the quality of Wayne Rooney. He showed that last season at Manchester United, and in pre-season. Of course, he will get a warm welcome.
“Wayne is used to playing in that central position in the front three. He will need support from Klaassen from midfield and from the wingers as well. 

“It is important to have the performance tonight and a good result but we are ready.
“The challenge for Ružomberok is that they have the chance to play against a Premier League team. It is a big ambition for them. They will drop deep and do everything for a good result.
“It is up to us to play at a high tempo, and that will be a problem for them I think.
“We would like to reach the group stage and that is our priority. That starts tonight.”

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