Rooney: Why Newcastle Test Is Important To Everton

by Peter Lennox

Wayne Rooney has spoken of the "importance" of Everton's Premier League match at home to Newcastle United on Monday night as he targeted four wins from the Blues' season run-in.

The Toffees are a point ahead of the in-form Magpies – who have won their past four games – and Rooney says the squad are focused on achieving victory over Rafael Bentiez’s men under the lights at Goodison Park to keep building momentum.

While Newcastle will head into the clash buoyant after their recent results, Everton will be aiming to continue their commanding home form – having taken 24 points from the past 36 available at the Grand Old Lady.

With visits to Huddersfield and West Ham United - either side of the final home match of 2017/18 against Southampton - to come, Everton top goalscorer Rooney says the Blues are eager to finish the season on a high, starting by securing victory on Monday night and opening up a four-point gap on their opponents.

“It’s an important game,” said the Academy graduate, who rejoined his boyhood club last summer from Manchester United. “If you take the league position out of it, there's importance for us in terms of what we want to do in the next four games.

“We feel capable of winning each game. That is the target for us and we want to start on Monday.

“We know Newcastle are in good form, they’ve done well in the past few weeks and picked up wins and got lots of points, so we know it will be a tough game.

“We want to try to end the season well and finish on as many points as we can and this is the start of those last four games.

“It’s important we don’t let any complacency creep in and stay focused on these games and try to win them.”

Victory would seal a Premier League double for the Blues over Newcastle this season, with Rooney hitting the winner as the Toffees dug in to secure a gritty 1-0 win in December.

The 32-year-old’s strike was his 94th away from home in the Premier League, which is more than any other player.

Rooney’s record against the Magpies is also impressive. He has hit 15 Premier League goals against Newcastle – more than he has scored against any other club.

The England record goalscorer is aiming to add to his impressive tally on Monday night.

“I enjoy playing against them, home and away,” he added. “My goalscoring record against them is very good and hopefully that will continue on Monday.

“They are in a good run of form but hopefully we can stop that run and get ourselves a victory.

“If I got to 100 [away goals] it would be great, too. But I’ve never really looked at records, they’ve come along and only then do I look at them."

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