It has long been presumed that Wayne Rooney will find a willing home at his boyhood club Everton when he is finally shown the door at Manchester United.
Many fans would love to see him return to his former club and play out a few seasons on Merseyside. The hope being he would rediscover some of the magic that propelled him on to the world stage as a dynamic teenager. It sounds like a fairytale ending. That is because it is. The reality is a long way from this particular football fantasy.
Wayne Rooney is simply not good enough to play for Everton. There was a time, not too long ago, when that would have sounded ridiculous but now it seems like a simple piece of logic. For a long time his game was defined by blistering runs, dominate strength and contagious passion. He led the team through skill and gutsy courage. Now the only guts he shows are hanging over his waistband. Lethargy and sloppiness are the defining traits of his frequent underwhelming performance.
The common belief is that he still has much to contribute, but perhaps just not at the top-level. Top level? Nonsense. United came sixth, Everton came seventh. They are virtually on the same level. If he can’t do it for Manchester United then he can’t do it for Everton either.
He did nothing to help at Old Trafford therefore it stands to reason he would do nothing to help at Goodison either. The idea of Rooney replacing Lukaku in Everton’s lineup sounds like the punchline to a joke that a Red Scouser would write.
The real debate is not if he is good enough for Everton but if he is good enough for the Premier League at all? The evidence is clear that he isn’t. Rooney finished the season with 5 Premier League goals in 25 games. Burnley had THREE strikers with more goals.
If you look down the table you see a long list of strikers who are better than him; Gabbiadini, King, Deeney, Arnautovic, Llorente, Vardy, Carroll, Benteke. He is not good enough to displace any of these strikers let alone start for a team with genuine European ambitions like Everton. And that is before we start talking about his obscene wages.
The best bet for England’s highest international scorer is to grab one of the big paychecks being thrown around in China. Or perhaps an American swan song in LA or New York. Either way he could spare himself and Evertonians the embarrassment of a doomed reunion.