There has, of course, been a suggestion that Rooney’s return to Everton is a schmaltzy choice on both parts; it allows Rooney to settle any lingering differences with a club he decided to leave as a teenager, while giving Everton new status as a side that includes a recognised figure across the globe, making them suddenly seem more relevant.

And yet, listen to Rooney and, indeed, watch him, and you begin to realise that of all the decisions he could have made, going back to Goodison was probably the one that presented the greatest risk. Everton, quite simply, has never been a club that accepts washed-up footballers, whether they are born in Croxteth or not, and Rooney likes it that his performances here will be scrutinised as tightly as they have been ever since he entered the first team as a 16-year-old.

“There is a lot of expectation coming back here,” Rooney said after finishing his conversation with Lineker. “There are still some fans who maybe thought that I wasn’t good enough. But it is up to me to prove myself.

“I could have gone to another team and taken my foot off the gas and seen the last few years out. But coming back here? I have got to be the best I can be. It is the club I grew up supporting, it’s the club I want to play for. I want to do well.


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