The striker received the loudest ovation of Everton’s players and the chants of his name during the Europa League tie were a far cry from the vitriol of 12 years ago
A slender Everton victory and subdued display was not the homecoming Wayne Rooney envisaged but he could take some solace from an arduous night’s work in the Europa League. This was a far cry from the last time he made an emotional return to Goodison Park 12 years ago.
Then, sporting Manchester United colours for the first time since his acrimonious £27m departure the previous summer, the 19-year-old was welcomed back by a police cordon on Goodison Road, a police helicopter overhead, vitriol throughout the FA Cup tie and a few objects thrown his way for good measure. He did not make it through the warm-up without coming in for abuse from an Everton match‑day sponsor, biting back before being dragged away by some of the minders employed for the day.