Rooney in pursuit of 100 goals
Wayne Rooney returns to the ground where it all started when Manchester United make the short trip to Everton on Saturday looking to continue their flying form.sports Updated: Oct 24, 2008 09:51 IST
Wayne Rooney returns to the ground where it all started when Manchester United make the short trip to Everton on Saturday looking to continue their flying form.
Rooney is looking to score his 100th club goal at Goodison Park, where his career took off as a 16-year-old.
Having turned 23 on the eve of the match, Rooney is arguably in the form of his life, having scored nine goals in his last seven matches for club and country.
The ferocity of the reception he will receive from the Everton supporters is an indicator of the huge stock he was held in at his boyhood club, although he had just two full seasons with the Blues before making a 20-million-pound move to Old Trafford.
Rooney admits that the six years have gone quickly since he broke into David Moyes' side back in 2002.
He had already scored two goals in a 3-0 League Cup win over Wrexham when he smashed in a memorable first Premier League goal in the 2-1 win over Arsenal in October 2002.
Rooney recognises the range of attacking options available to Sir Alex Ferguson, with Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez also fighting for a place in attack.
But it would be a surprise if he was not given a chance to bring up his century against the Blues.
I have scored a few goals and I've said in the last couple of weeks I am trying to be more consistent with my goals," Rooney said. "Hopefully I can start doing that this year.
"We have a lot of top-class strikers and you have to be at your best to stay in the team."
After an unconvincing start to the campaign, Ferguson's side are looking at least as the team that won the Premier League and Champions League last season.
Rio Ferdinand is set to return from a groin problem in the place of Jonny Evans, the youngster identified by Ferguson as Ferdinand's long-term successor.
The Northern Ireland international has made just three appearances for United this season but they have seen him play in the 1-1 Premier League draw at Chelsea and the Champions League games against Villarreal and Celtic.
And Evans, who had a spell on loan at Sunderland last season, insists he is happy to stay and fight for his spot at Old Trafford.
He said: "Thirty games a season sounds tremendous but even if I was to get up to 20 games that would be good.
"Even being on the bus is good and I am really enjoying it.
"The manager here insisted I was not going anywhere this season and that was it because he tends to get his way.
"I want to play now and it does get frustrating but there are top-class players here who don't get a game every week."
United go into the game at Goodison on the back of six straight wins and having kept clean sheets in their last five matches.
That is in sharp contrast to Everton, who sit 16th and have lost three of their four home games in a winless start at Goodison.
But the Blues' England defender Joleon Lescott believes that United's visit offers the perfect chance for Moyes' team to turn their season around.
He said: "No doubt Man United are the best team at the moment and they're champions of Europe and the Premier League.
"It's going to be a massive game and a tough one at that. But again, we'll go in there confident and know if we play right we can get a result.
"No one is pleased with the way things have gone so far. But again, the boys are going to be pushing in the right direction to get out of this slump that we're in, and get ourselves up the league.
"It's not a surprise to anyone that they're playing well and its going to be a tough job for our defence to keep Wayne out."