Ronald Koeman insists Wayne Rooney is still one of the best in his position
Everton boss Ronald Koeman admits Wayne Rooney is still one of the best in his position despite falling out-of-favour with Manchester United and England last season.
The 31-year-old joined the Toffees on a free transfer earlier this month and he has since made an immediate impact for the Merseyside club.
Rooney hit a sublime long range effort in his comeback game against GorMahia while he also found the scoresheet against Belgian club Genk. The veteran made just 15 league starts for United last term, but Koeman does not believe the striker has lost his key attributes.
He told the club’s official website: “He has a lot of experience. He is an important player on the pitch but also important for his team-mates and certainly the young players to show them what you need to do to reach that high standard of football. That means he needs to be a leader off the pitch and if I see how he’s working and what he’s doing with all the players it’s really what we want. Every day in training so far and in the friendlies, you see why he’s one of the best in his position and one of the best players.”
Apart from Rooney, the Toffees have also signed the likes of Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen, Jordan Pickford, Sandro Ramirez and Cuco Martina in a busy transfer window while Henry Onyekuru has been loaned out to Anderlecht.
Koeman is particularly impressed with how the new signings have integrated into the squad, and he is confident that they will provide the necessary qualities to push the Toffees to the next level. Everton will play their first competitive fixture in the Europa League this month where they take on Slovakian side Ružomberok in the third qualifying round, first-leg.
Everton are one of the favourites to reach the group stage of this season’s Europa League, but they will have to avoid any complacency in the qualification round – with West Ham United having failed at a similar stage in the last two seasons.