ENGLAND and Everton striker Wayne Rooney said yesterday he was thrilled to be included in the squad coming to play in to Tanzania this Thursday.
Everton are expected to arrive in Dar es Salaam tomorrow ahead of their Thursday match with Gor Mahia, their first pre-season friendly encounter. The National Stadium is the venue of Rooney’s first match for his new club.
The former Manchester and one of England’s traditional scorers, Rooney says he sees the trip as the perfect opportunity to get to know his new team-mates. “I’m looking forward to it - it should be a good trip,” he told evertontv. ‘It’ll be nice and hopefully I’ll get on the pitch and get some game-time.
‘It’s good when you go away with the team. It’s good to be around the hotel with the players, spend more time with them and get to know them more. “I’ve never been to Tanzania before, so I’m really looking forward to it.” Soon upon his arrival from Manchester United, the club he served for 13 years, Rooney joined his team mates in for the first time at Goodison Park.
He said he was delighted to return to his boyhood club. At Manchester United, he subsequently won every honour in the English game and became the Red Devils’ all-time leading scorer, Rooney rejoined his former club on a free transfer.
Rooney was out on the training field with his new team-mates at Everton’s Finch Farm training base as the former England captain got to work. He did so with a smile on his face, as he let out a boyish grin similar to the one seen so regularly when he burst onto the scene in 2002.
Prior to the session he was pictured arriving at the club’s training base yesterday morning, wearing a black jumper and jeans, and subsequently took to social media to express his excitement at getting out on the training field for the first time.
Alongside a picture of himself in Everton kit the striker, whose two-year deal is worth £150,000 a week, wrote ‘Time to get started! #EFC.’ He joins a squad that includes a number of familiar faces, such as former Manchester United team-mates Morgan Schneiderlin and Michael Keane, as well as England colleagues Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley.
But Rooney, who has taken the club’s No 10 jersey on his return, is just the latest in a long line of summer additions, with Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen and Sandro Ramirez all arriving as part of a spending spree which is now closing in on £100m.
The return to training marks an emotional few days days for Rooney, who could not contain his excitement as he was unveiled on Sunday afternoon. ‘It’s a great feeling to be back,’ he told Everton’s official website. “I’m excited, I cannot wait to meet the lads, get on the training pitch and then get on the pitch to play.
I’m ecstatic – I just cannot wait to get back playing.” Heading in the opposite direction will be Lukaku, who is expected to take up the No 10 jersey at United, previously worn by Rooney. The Belgium international is expected to meet up with his new United team-mates this week in the US, where he has been out on holiday with Paul Pogba.