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Rooney scores on his return to Goodison Park as Everton beat Stoke

Wayne Rooney: Everton striker's focus is on club rather than country

Wayne Rooney marked his top-flight return to Everton after 13 years by scoring the winner against Stoke with his 199th goal in the Premier League.

The 31-year-old, who left the club for Manchester United in 2004, found space in the area to head a Dominic Calvert-Lewin cross past Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland before the break.

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It was the Toffees’ best move of the match – one Rooney was twice involved in before adding the finishing touch.

Calvert-Lewin also went close for the home side as Stoke struggled to break Everton down on the opening day at Goodison Park.

Xherdan Shaqiri’s long-range effort did force new Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford into a fine save in stoppage-time, with the 23-year-old leaping across his line to tip wide.

Rooney scored the first of his Premier League goals for Everton with a sublime strike against Arsenal as a 16-year-old in 2002. His 199th in the English top flight 15 years later wasn’t quite as dramatic, but it will have meant just as much to the boyhood Blues fan.

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Sir Alex Ferguson moved to snap up the teenager after some flashes of genius in an Everton shirt and Rooney returned to Goodison Park as England and Manchester United’s all-time leading goalscorer.

He helped start the move that resulted in the winning goal with some neat link-up play with Idrissa Gueye and Sandro Ramirez, before showing all that experience to peel away in the area and guide a free header into the opposite corner.

The forward started tenaciously and could have found himself in the book for a late tackle on former United team-mate Darren Fletcher, but Rooney’s desire to track back and help his side defensively also proved invaluable against a direct Stoke threat.

This season could go a long way to deciding his legacy among the Everton faithful, but the former England captain will also be hoping to play his way back into Gareth Southgate’s plans with a World Cup looming next summer.

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BBC Sports

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