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Back at Everton, energized Rooney eyes England return

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LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Wayne Rooney believes his return to Everton can revive his international career with England.

Rooney, who has 119 caps and a record 53 goals for England, was left out of the most recent squad in June for matches against Scotland and France, with coach Gareth Southgate saying there were forwards in better form.

The 31-year-old Rooney had to accept a reduced status at United last season in Jose Mourinho's first year in charge but moving back to Everton — 13 years after leaving Goodison Park — signals a fresh start and should see him start more matches.

"I am focused on playing well for Everton," Rooney said at his presentation on Monday. "If I do that, then Gareth Southgate will have a decision to make whether he puts me back in the squad.

"Hopefully, my performances will be good enough for Everton and he won't be able to ignore me."

Rooney said he left United because he "needed to play games."

"It hadn't gone stale . but I know I am at my best when I am playing games consistently. I spoke with Jose and I knew it was the right time to leave and go and play somewhere else.

"It is obviously frustrating. My whole career I have played and it was the first time I didn't play and I was on the bench. It is not me, I need to play football."

Everton last won a trophy in 1995, when a nine-year-old Rooney was in the crowd at the old Wembley Stadium to watch his team beat United in the FA Cup final.

"We want to keep pushing and be successful and bring trophies to the club," Rooney said.

"I always play like I have got a point to prove. I am not coming into a retirement home. I am ready to play, I want to win, I want to be successful at this football club."

Sitting alongside Rooney, Everton manager Ronald Koeman said he was impressed by the player's "ambition" and "desperation" to come back to Goodison.

Koeman has spent 90 million pounds on new players this offseason but felt he was missing someone with Rooney's experience and leadership.

"That experience to win titles is something really important for Everton," the Dutch coach said. "That is one of the reasons we tried to bring Wayne back."

Rooney sometimes played as a midfielder for United over the past two seasons but will play in an "offensive" position at Everton, Koeman said.

"He can be the No. 10 behind the striker, he can have the free role off the left, he can be the 9 (main striker), be the 7 (on the right)," Koeman said. "Those are the positions where Wayne will play."


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