It just had to be didn’t it.
It just had to be him.
A record 4,869 days had passed since Evertonians saw Wayne Rooney bag a goal in the Royal Blue Jersey, and he celebrated like it was his first all over again. Much can be said about his supposed decline in recent years but what Rooney still possesses on the evidence of last Saturday is genuine game changing ability. 45 minutes of going through the motions gave the impression that it was going to be another one of those seasons, until Rooney finished what proved to be the match winning move. From then onwards, he pretty much ran the show. Strutting across the pitch with the same swagger that was reminiscent of his first stint at the club, he pinged the ball all over the field, finding creative openings for others that were so lacking in the first half.
If a blast from Everton’s past was what gave way to the game opener, then it was Everton’s future that ensured it was the match winner. Jordon Pickford was at full stretch to deny Stoke City’s Frodo Baggins from range right at the death. For a kid who has come with the heavy burden of a £30 million pound price tag, he looks at ease with the pressure the lofty fee has brought to many, and long may it continue.
Seems at the moment the man bearing the brunt of the ire from the Goodison faithful (because there just has to be one boo boy) is new lad Davy Klaassen. What people need to remember is that he’s only months into settling at a new club, having come from one which pretty much drills in the same system from an early age, all the way into his professional career. It’s going to take time; let him find his feet.
Going forward it’s hard to see how 3 at the back can be made to work, and it wasn’t necessarily the fault of the defenders in question. There was no doubt that the team looked a lot more balanced when Koeman reverted to a 4-4-2, but it also poises the question, is Schneiderlin and Gueye in the same team too much of a good thing?
All in all, 3 points from the opening day is as good as you can wish for, but one little side note: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, you handsome devil you. Your progress is not going unnoticed. Well in fella.