Wayne Rooney’s stunning hat-trick in November’s 4-0 win over West Ham United at Goodison Park has earned the striker the Individual Performance of the Season award for 2017/18.
Academy product Rooney, who returned to Everton last summer after 13 years with Manchester United, opened the scoring when he turned in the rebound from his own saved penalty with 18 minutes played.
He then swept home from Tom Davies’ low cross to double the advantage on 28 minutes, before saving his best until last.
When Hammers stopper Joe Hart charged out of his box midway through the second half and slid to clear the ball away from the lurking Dominic Calvert-Lewin and out of the West Ham half, he couldn’t have envisaged any imminent danger.
Yet, Rooney met the ball flush a mammoth 58 yards from goal and watched on as it set off on a trajectory over Hart and two West Ham defenders, into the Gwladys Street net.
Rooney later declared his hat-trick strike among the best of his stellar career in the game, saying, “I hit it as well as I’ve ever kicked a football”.
Defender Ashley Williams headed in from a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner to add further gloss to an emphatic scoreline 12 minutes from time.
The victory, which was watched by Sam Allardyce on the eve of his appointment as Everton boss, set the Blues off on a run of form that has taken them from 17th before kick-off that night to their current league position of eighth and the striker’s contribution was voted by a panel including Club ambassadors Graeme Sharp, Graham Stuart, Steven Pienaar and Ian Snodin plus Leon Osman as the most memorable of the 2017/18 campaign.
“It was a great feeling to get that hat-trick,” said Rooney. “It was a long time to get a hat-trick goal in front of the Gwladys Street End so to do it was very special.
“It's been great to be back at Everton and to be able to put the shirt on again. I've enjoyed it and I'm delighted to be playing for the Club again. I now want to help us achieve success in the future.
The Individual Performance Of The Season award was sponsored by Umbro.