Wayne Rooney to return to Everton after agreeing to play in Duncan Ferguson testimonial

Rooney famously left Everton in 2004 for Manchester United

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The Independent Football

Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney will once again pull on the Blue of Everton after agreeing to play in a testimonial for one Duncan Ferguson.

Rooney and Ferguson were briefly team-mates when the then-teenager broke into the first-team at Goodison Park.

Rooney famously left the team he had supported as a boy for Manchester United on 2004 after bearing the t-shirt 'once a blue, always a blue'.

Everton supporters vented their fury in the early years after his departure, prompting Rooney to kiss the United badge in 2008, although that anger has mellowed in recent years.

A banner in the season after Rooney left the club


Ferguson's time with the Toffees will be remembered in a testimonial friendly against Villarreal on 2 August and Rooney, currently out in the US on United's pre-season tour, will turn out to honour his "hero".

"As a young lad growing up in Croxteth, Duncan Ferguson was a hero of mine," Rooney told the Everton website.

"As a young player at the club he was an inspiration and when I broke into the first team he helped and looked after me.

"I cannot think of a better way to thank Dunc for all he did for me than turning out in his fully deserved testimonial match. Had he not asked me to play I would have gone and supported him on the day as I am sure most other Evertonians will."

Ferguson spoke of his delight at having Rooney on board for the friendly.

"I'm absolutely delighted that the wee man has agreed to play in the game," added Ferguson, who has not ruled out playing in the contest himself.

"Everybody knows that we go way back. I knew him as a kid, he's a top man and I'm proud as his friend that he's fulfilled the potential we always knew was there.

"Wayne's a world-class player and I'm genuinely thrilled that he will play on the day, just as I'm so grateful to the club for putting on this game."

Additional reporting from PA