Everton suffered a nightmare start to their campaign. Just about every player and staff member of the club came in for heavy criticism.
However, one man that seemed to be criticised more than most was veteran forward Wayne Rooney, just because of his reputation and who he is as a person.
Everton have hit a decent run of form in recent weeks, though, winning four of their last five games in all competitions. Rooney has shown his importance to the team in recent games, including scoring the winning goal in a 1-0 win over Newcastle on Wednesday night.
A key player in recent weeks
In the last month, Everton’s reversal of fortunes has coincided with an upturn in form from Rooney. Whether he has played in a central midfield role or as a number ten, the former England captain has played a key role for the Toffees of late.
The 32-year-old has scored five times and provided an assist in Everton’s last four Premier League outings. A goal tally for the season of nine Premier League goals is also impressive, considering he has been playing in a team devoid of confidence.
The Rooney who has been performing in an Everton shirt of late is close to the Rooney that everybody fawned over in his prime. He is getting about the pitch, scoring crucial goals and making crucial passes.
Prior to the last few weeks, he looked out of shape and somebody whose Premier League career was in major doubt.
A player of major influence
All of a sudden, Wayne Rooney is a player of major influence again in the team. The sort of player that helps his team gain vital wins, just as he has done in recent games.
He may not be the same player who terrorised top-flight defences in his mid-20’s, but it still seems like he has a lot to give at the top level. The forward looks to be finally enjoying his time in the blue of his beloved boyhood club.
Rooney’s advice and experience can really help the development of some of his young teammates. He looks to be constantly encouraging his teammates on the pitch and often that is what younger players need to shine.
Some questioned why Everton would re-sign Rooney. Well, the last few performances have given them the answer. The former England international still has it in his locker to be a game-changer and a positive influence on the players around him on the pitch.
Everton looking to move up the table
The relegation worries of a few weeks ago now seem like a distant memory for Everton. Rooney and his teammates have moved into the top-half of the table and will now be looking to move up still further from their tenth position.
It now seems the bookmakers fancy the Toffees to finish in the top-half this season, as they are now 8/11 to finish in the top-ten of the Premier League.
A top-ten finish would not have been a big achievement for Everton this season at the start of the campaign considering the optimism surrounding the club in the summer. However, following their horrendous start to the season, a finish anywhere in the top-ten of the Premier League would now not be a terrible result.
They say a week is a long time in politics. Well, in football it can be an even longer time. In the last week, the Toffees have picked up two wins and a draw at Liverpool. They are certainly on the up.
The team’s recent performances have been by no means perfect, which boss Sam Allardyce has admitted. However, there is a sense that the Toffees are now moving in the right direction.
Wayne Rooney for all his doubters is enjoying his football at the minute. Everton fans will say no long may that continue, as the veteran star relives his former glories as the star of a Premier League team.
Can Wayne Rooney continue to thrive at Everton?
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