Ronald Koeman watched Wayne Rooney mark his Everton homecoming by scoring the decisive goal against Stoke, then declared “that is why we signed him”.
Rooney headed home Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s inviting cross on the stroke of half-time to seal the Blues’ first opening-day Premier League victory for five years.
It has been even longer since Rooney was on target for Everton at Goodison – 13 years and five months, to be precise, when his strike settled a game against Portsmouth.
But after rejoining the Club from Manchester United this summer, the 31-year-old delivered an exquisite performance to tip a tight contest in the Blues’ favour.
"There was one player in an Everton shirt who, from the first second until the last, was comfortable on the pitch," said Koeman.
"Every decision he made was the right one – and he scored a great goal. It was a great cross from Dominic (Calvert-Lewin).
“In difficult moments in the game, Wayne showed his experience.
"He was clever, and comfortable on the ball - and that was the difference between him and some others on the pitch.
"That is why we signed Wayne... to show his teammates that experience. And it was really important today."