Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince believes a move to Everton would be beneficial for Wayne Rooney, as he has been overtaken by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the leadership stakes at Old Trafford.
Rooney famously came through the ranks at Goodison Park before a big-money move to United in 2004. He recently overtook Sir Bobby Charlton to become United’s all-time leading goalscorer.
He has fallen out of favour under Jose Mourinho this season, while charismatic Swede Ibrahimovic has taken to English football like the proverbial duck to water, seemingly taken over Rooney’s mantle as leader, even though he does not wear the captain’s armband. Rooney has had that particular honour since 2014.
Rooney has been linked with a return to Everton, and recently turned down speculation that China was also a possible destination.
Ex-England star Ince, a key cog in the engine room that was United’s midfield in the mid-1990s, reckons Rooney would welcome a fresh start.
‘It makes perfect sense. It would be him returning back home. He’s an Everton lad at the end of the day,’ Ince told PaddyPower.
‘If he decided to go there, he’s going to a team with an excellent manager in a side that are pushing forwards and want to play good football.
‘There are good players coming through and they are only looking onwards and upwards.
‘A move back to Everton would also mean he could be the main man again.
‘Like Zlatan is at Manchester United at the moment, he would be the leader. Young players would look up to him and the fans would welcome him back home.’
Everton boss Ronald Koeman would certainly welcome Rooney. He said: “He still has two or three years in front of him to play at the highest level. What will happen at the end of the season, I do not know? In my opinion he’s one of the players who can make Everton stronger than they are now.
“It’s all about what the players likes, what Manchester United need to do and we are not involved in that project. Every player who we feel can make the team stronger is welcome at Everton.”
By Steve Osborne @BlizzardSteve75