Koe­man lav­ishes praise on in­spi­ra­tional Rooney

New Straits Times - - Sport -

LON­DON: Ron­ald Koe­man says Wayne Rooney proved he is ‘still one of the best in his po­si­tion’ with Satur­day’s match-win­ning dis­play for Ever­ton.

Lift­ing three tro­phies at Manch­ester United last sea­son was not enough to sat­isfy the 31year-old, whose frus­tra­tion at a lack of reg­u­lar first-team foot­ball grew un­der Jose Mour­inho.

Rooney took the de­ci­sion to leave Old Traf­ford af­ter 13 medal­laden years and in the sum­mer re­joined Ever­ton, who he in­spired to vic­tory on his first Premier League ap­pear­ance for the club in 4,837 days.

The for­ward nod­ded home at the end of a fine team move late in the first half to se­cure a 1-0 win against Stoke and im­pressed with his all-round dis­play at Goodison Park.

“He shows that he’s still one of the best in his po­si­tion,” Koe­man said, lav­ish­ing praise on Rooney.

“I think he was dif­fer­ent class in ball pos­ses­sion — he was com­fort­able on the ball, he took right, good de­ci­sions on the ball and he scored a great goal.

“And you can­not ask more (than) that.”

Asked if he brought to the team ex­actly what he wanted, Koe­man told broad­cast­ers: ‘Yeah, that’s what you like.

“You like to have play­ers in the team with a lot of a clev­er­ness on the pitch and that they know, they see and they han­dle what they need to do at a cer­tain mo­ment. That was his best game so far.”

Rooney had al­ready made his com­pet­i­tive re­turn for Ever­ton against Ru­zomberok in the third qual­i­fy­ing round of the Europa League — a com­pe­ti­tion he won with United last sea­son.

The 31-year-old will be key if the Tof­fees are to go far in it this term and Koe­man sees him as an im­por­tant in­flu­ence on the group, es­pe­cially his young, promis­ing play­ers.

“That’s ex­pe­ri­ence,” he told ev­er­tontv.

“He played a long time out of the high­est level in foot­ball. He won ti­tles and of course that’s a big ex­pe­ri­ence.

“We have some young play­ers, they need to learn, they need to im­prove and they have a re­ally good teacher — not al­ways in talk­ing but also what he is show­ing on the pitch.”

Koe­man says Ever­ton can — and will — do ‘much bet­ter’ mov­ing for­wards, but was pleased to get the sea­son off to a win­ning start. Daily Mail

REUTERS PIC

Ever­ton’s Wayne Rooney (left) and Stoke City’s Darren Fletcher bat­tle for the ball at Goodison Park on Satur­day.

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