Wayne Rooney declared his hat-trick goal was as "well as I’ve ever struck a football” after Everton recorded a 4-0 win over West Ham, which the forward dedicated to “true Evertonian” David Unsworth.
The former England captain netted a 48-minute treble - his first for the Club - at Goodison Park on a memorable evening, with the crowning moment a stunning 59-yard effort.
Ashley Williams applied the icing on the cake with a perfectly-guided header late on to ensure a 4-0 victory that sees the Toffees climb to 13th in the Premier League table, just two points behind ninth-placed Leicester City.
“For us as a team and as a Club, it was important,” Rooney said afterwards. “For us to show some pride, as David Unsworth has said, we have been hurting. It was important today that we got a clean sheet, first of all. I think it’s been long overdue but then a victory as well to try to steady the past few weeks with what we’ve been going through. Thankfully, it’s come with a good scoreline."
When asked whether or not he’d struck a similar goal to his third on the night, he added: “I don’t think so. It’s one of - if not the best - goal I’ve ever scored. I think I hit it as well as I’ve ever kicked a football! To make it my third goal, my first hat-trick for Everton, I’m delighted.”
Rooney displayed the kind of composure you’d expect from a man who holds the record for most goals scored in a Three Lions shirt for the opener, coolly nodding home past goalkeeper Joe Hart after seeing his initial effort saved from the penalty spot on 18 minutes.
He doubled his tally for the evening before the half-time interval with an expert finish at the far post after Jonjoe Kenny mishit Tom Davies’ low centre from the right flank.
“The first goal was important and I have practiced many penalties against Harty,” said Rooney. “I knew that he knew I was going so I thought, ‘Do I change, or do I stick with the way I’m going?’
“I stuck with it but I still backed myself to beat him, he made a good save and thankfully it fell back to me. I think it was an important goal, we relaxed after that goal, getting my second goal as well. We played some really good stuff, especially in that first half and in the second half we dug in and got the third and fourth goal.
“We will enjoy tonight. First of all we have got to give a lot of thanks to David Unsworth, he has stepped in at a difficult time for the football club, he is a true Evertonian and he has stepped in and has tried to steady the ship for us.
“I am delighted for him that we have got this victory because it’s important for the Club but also David Unsworth so I am pleased for that.”