What The Papers Say - 22 February

The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.

Wayne Rooney has revealed why he chose to re-join Everton in 2017.

The former England forward came through the Blues Academy and made his Toffees debut in 2002. After making a switch to Manchester United, where he spent a hugely-successful 13 years, Rooney decided to make the move back to Merseyside.

Speaking on the Stick To Football podcast and quoted by the Liverpool World, he recalled: “Returning to Everton was never something that I considered when I first joined Manchester United, especially when I was getting a fair amount of abuse from the fanbase, but over the years that changed as I went to a few games.

“That’s when I started thinking that I would love for my children to see me playing for Everton. My children are both Manchester United and Everton fans.

“Everton was a club that I loved. I went through the Academy, and I still support them and follow them now.”

Elsewhere, Vitalii Mykolenko has discussed his admiration for former Blue and fellow left-back Leighton Baines.

Asked on a Sky Sports Q&A which past Premier League player he would most want to play alongside, the Ukrainian responded: “If I would pick Leighton Baines, I would not play; he would play ahead of me!

“We played in the same positions, and he is a big legend, not just at Everton but in English football.”

Meanwhile, Everton Under-21s Head Coach Paul Tait has been full of praise for Toffees midfielder Andre Gomes.

Earlier this season, the 30-year-old Gomes, who had previously been sidelined through injury, featured in three games for the young Blues during December, building his fitness ahead of a goalscoring return to action at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Tait, speaking about the professionalism of the Portuguese told the Blue Diary podcast: "We were also lucky to have Andre Gomes. He's just a magician of a footballer, he's a top, top player and also a top guy.

“It was his first game back after a long time out and he played on a freezing cold night at Finch Farm, he was only meant to play 75 minutes and he came off after 75 minutes and we said you can go and have a shower and he said 'no, I'm staying here' so he just likes staying on the bench with the rest of the lads and watching the game out."