Wayne Rooney labelled his 200th Premier League goal in Everton’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City a “sweet moment” and had the British media purring and suggesting Tuesday 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 Alan 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.
“But the energy is still there.
“And it will propel Everton forward.”
– ‘May burn bright then fade’ –
The Daily Telegraph said Rooney had an England recall “in his sights”.
The paper says Rooney’s impeccable first touch and passing master class as well as his positional sense could serve his talented but inconsistent teammate Ross Barkley well.
“If the absent Ross Barkley (he is injured) had just an ounce of Rooney’s football intelligence he would be a world beater,” it remarked.
However, on his chances of an England recall it said Southgate faced a dilemma.
“He (Southgate) must calculate if there are really 22 English players who can contribute more in a World Cup year.
“Would the recall of Rooney truly be considered a retrograde step, or can he be redefined at international level to be a guiding influence on and off the field?”
Whatever the answer to that conundrum the Telegraph said that given Rooney’s rejuvenated form Southgate has to make a decision soon.
The Daily Mail went big on irony, recalling that Rooney was written off last season.
“He’s finished, you know. He doesn’t score, he doesn’t contribute,” observed the newspaper dryly.
“He should have just packed it in, or gone to China or the United States, for the money.
“He has nothing left to give to Premier League football.
“Yet somehow, here Wayne Rooney is.
“Two games, two goals.”
The Guardian said with Liverpool’s Adam Lallana out injured it opened up a spot for Rooney to be recalled and win his 120th cap.
“He (Southgate) must surely be impressed at how Rooney is knocking on the door to be recalled,” the paper said.
“Rooney may burn bright then fade as the season ages.
“But here he was the goalscorer for the second consecutive time in a league supposedly the continent’s toughest.
“There is not much more he can do.”