Barry Horne says Wayne Rooney has rediscovered his “love and enthusiasm” for football since returning to Everton this summer.
Rooney scored his 200th Premier League goal at Manchester City on Monday night – only the second man to reach that mark in the competition’s 25-year history, after Alan Shearer.
And former Everton midfielder Horne believes Rooney’s achievements in the game eclipse those of Shearer, who ended his career having scored 260 top-flight goals for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.
“Wayne is under-appreciated, there is no doubt about that,” Horne told evertonfc.com. “The media are quick to pounce on anything he doesn’t do fantastically well – they are very quick to criticise.
“I don’t know why that is. He has won five Premier League titles and a Champions League, he has broken appearance records – and he holds the scoring record for one of the most famous footballing nations in the world.
“He hasn’t only broken records, though. Alan Shearer broke records – and it’s his Premier League scoring record that Wayne is chasing.
“But Alan Shearer won one medal. Rooney has broken records and won medals. What more can the lad do?”
Horne was a key figure in the last Everton side to bring silverware back to Goodison Park – Joe Royle’s 1995 FA Cup winners.
But he believes Rooney’s drive and quality can spearhead the current team’s bid to end a near-23 year wait for a trophy.
“It is clear that Wayne is genuinely delighted to be back,” said Horne. “He looks to have found his love and enthusiasm for the game again.
“Before he came back, it looked to me as if he had stopped enjoying his football. He looks fit and incredibly up for it – and as if he wants to prove people wrong.
“And he looks determined to achieve his ambition of winning something with Everton Football Club.”