Rooney joins elite club

MANCHESTER. — Wayne Rooney scored the 200th English Premier League goal of his soccer career as Everton drew 1-1 away to Manchester City on Monday night. Rooney slotted home the opening goal of the game for the visitors before Raheem Sterling earned City a point despite being down to 10-men due to Kyle Walker’s red card. The 31-year-old forward, scoring for the second consecutive game following his return to Everton, joins Alan Shearer as the only man to net 200 goals in the competition.

He remains 60 goals shy of Shearer’s tally but moves further clear of third-placed Andy Cole who scored 187 times. Rooney’s form suggests there are more to come.

“Tonight he had a big impact on the final result,” Everton boss Ronald Koeman told Sky Sports afterwards.

Rooney also covered more ground than any other Everton player on the night, 10.68 kilometres, and the former England captain had a quick quip for his critics afterwards.

“It is not bad for someone who is not fit any more and cannot get about the pitch,” he told Sky Sports. “I have always put a shift in for the team.”

Rooney then used Twitter to poke fun at Manchester City fans, who met his goal celebrations with some unkind gestures at the Etihad.

Nine of Rooney’s 200 goals have come against City, with five of those at the Eithad, and he also had a witty remark when asked about scoring against his former club’s local rivals.

Rooney, England’s all-time leading goal scorer, also said he hopes to speak with national team boss Gareth Southgate about returning to international duty.

Asked about a potential call-up for England’s World Cup qualifiers, Rooney told Sky Sports: “We’ll see. I’m focused on Everton.

“I’m sure I’ll speak to Gareth Southgate over the next few days and we’ll have a conversation and see what happens.”

His former England coach Gary Neville believes that sort of criticism could soon be coming to an end, having detected a shift in mood surrounding the player.

“It is as if over the last two or three years people really would not have been satisfied until they saw him out of the England squad and away from the Manchester United team,” said Neville on Monday Night Football.

“All of a sudden, people might start to celebrate him a little bit more.”

Meanwhile, when Rooney labelled his 200th Premier League goal in Everton’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City a “sweet moment” he had the British media purring and suggesting yesterday he be recalled to the England squad.

“Blue Roon” was the Daily Mirror’s headline while the Sun went with “Long May He Wayne” after Rooney joined former England and Newcastle great Shearer as the only players to have reached the Premier League landmark.

“Plenty of life left in old dog Roo” said the Sun who complimented Everton manager Ronald Koeman on his punt in signing the 31-year-old from Manchester United.

Rooney sparkled against City showing a hunger, zest and alertness for the club that nurtured his formidable talent as a teenager in stark contrast to his displays under Jose Mourinho at United last season.

“His last season at Old Trafford suggested this was a player well into decline and Everton were making a romantic gesture that could backfire,” the Sun said.

“Two games into the new season he has scored the winner in one and last night very nearly grabbed another… perhaps that dream of bowing out next summer in the World Cup is not just that,” it added.

The Mirror said Rooney, whose 35th-minute goal went through City ‘keeper Ederson’s legs before Raheem Sterling’s equalised after the break, looked like he could inspire Everton to better things.

“This was all about Rooney’s renaissance . . . at 31, Rooney was an eye-catching signing, something of a risk. — Sky Sports.

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