Matchwinner Wayne Rooney admitted he couldn’t imagine a better way of marking his first goal back at Goodison Park.
The Blues Academy graduate netted his first home goal in 13 years and five months with a pinpoint header to secure a 1-0 win and all three points in the Blues’ league curtain-raiser against Stoke City.
Goodison erupted as Rooney scored his first competitive goal for Everton since 13 April 2004 - when he netted in a 1-1 draw at Leeds United - taking his Premier League goals tally to 199 in the process.
And the 31-year-old forward admitted it was the ideal way to kick off the new league campaign, with fixtures coming thick and fast in the coming weeks.
“Coming back to play for Everton is a big deal for me,” he said. “To play my first Premier League game back here at Goodison and score the winner – it doesn’t get much better.
“The early games in the season are always tough. You are trying to find your rhythm in games.
“Today, a good Stoke team made it difficult. But it is important to win. We have some tough fixtures coming up and it was vital we got off to a good start. That will give us a lot of confidence going into the next game.
“We have another game coming up on Thursday against Hajduk Split in the Europa League and now all the focus is on being ready for that.”