Rooney Returns to Everton

(Photo/Everton Football Club)

Cameron Merritt

After 13 years as a key figure at Manchester United, Wayne Rooney is a Toffee once again.

The England captain signed a two-year deal with Everton Football Club Sunday, after coming over on a free transfer.

The move comes on the heels of another agreement between the two clubs, which sees Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku headed in the opposite direction, with United paying £75 million ($96,712,500) for his talents.

As a boy growing up in Liverpool, Rooney supported Everton, and became part of their academy at the age of nine. Seven years later, Rooney made his debut for the Merseyside club, and became the then-youngest goal scorer in Premier League history.

Rooney left for United at the age of 18, eventually becoming the club’s all time leading goal scorer with 253 goals in 559 appearances. As a Red Devil, he also won the Premier League five times and the Champions League once.

“Excited to be back at [Everton],” said Rooney via Twitter. “Can’t wait to meet up with [manager Ronald Koeman] and the lads!”

“He loves Everton and he was desperate to come back,” said Koeman on Everton’s official site. “He is still only 31 and I don’t have any doubts about his qualities. It’s fantastic he’s here.”

While Rooney began falling out of favor in manager Jose Mourinho’s squad, the United head praised him as a “model professional” who’s records will remain in the club’s books for a long time to come.

Rooney will wear the number 10 shirt for the Toffees, and will remain up front as a forward after trying to “reinvent himself” as a midfielder at Old Trafford.

Rooney and the rest of Everton will leave for Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Tuesday for their first preseason friendly against local club Gor Mahia, where he could make his official return to the pitch for the Merseyside Blues.

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