Wayne Rooney’s fairytale return to Everton continued as he marked his first appearance since rejoining with a goal in Thursday’s preseason friendly in Tanzania.
The 31-year-old’s arcing 30-yard right-footed strike to beat the Gor Mahia goalkeeper in his top right-hand corner had echoes of Rooney’s maiden goal for the club against Arsenal back in 2002 — five days short of his 17th birthday.
Collecting the ball 40 yards out in the inside-left position he took one touch with his left foot, advanced the ball a few yards with his right before lashing home a shot.
It marked the perfect way for Rooney, playing up front, to announce his return after a 13-year spell at Manchester United.
“To score for Everton again is a great feeling,” Rooney told Everton TV. “It’s something I’ve been thinking of for the last couple of weeks, once I knew [the move] was happening.
“Thankfully, I’ve done it in today’s game and that 45 minutes will only help.”
AP Photo/Khalfan Said
Having put his side ahead in the 35th minute in the club’s first preseason friendly against the Kenyan opponents, he immediately raised his arms to the sky in celebration.
However, his joy was short-lived as Jacques Tuyisenge equalised with a near-post header a couple of minutes later.
Rooney departed at half-time as manager Ronald Koeman made 11 changes, having given new signing Davy Klaassen 45 minutes, with winger Aaron Lennon making his first appearance since Feb. 11 after receiving treatment for a stress-related illness.
Another new signing, Michael Keane, played in the second half after his arrival from Burnley and his header saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin nod home only for the goal to be wrongly ruled out for offside.
Kieran Dowell hit the crossbar from a short free kick before moments later, nine minutes from time, he smashed home a left-footed effort from 25 yards to secure a 2-1 win.
Such is Rooney’s star appeal at least three Gor Mahia players stopped him to pose for photographs after the final whistle before he was escorted off by a security detail.