Football: Ronald Koeman offers Everton escape route for Wayne Rooney

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney during a UEFA Europa League match against Fenerbahce SK on Oct 20, 2016.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney during a UEFA Europa League match against Fenerbahce SK on Oct 20, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

London (AFP) - Everton manager Ronald Koeman says he would love to bring Wayne Rooney back to Goodison Park if the England star cannot revive his flagging Manchester United fortunes.

United captain Rooney has been relegated to the bench by boss Jose Mourinho in recent weeks after a dip in form that prompted speculation he could be on the verge of leaving Old Trafford.

Koeman was asked on Friday if he would be interested in offering Merseyside-born Rooney a return home to Everton, who he left in 2004 to join United after starting his career with the Toffees.

"First of all, I think it is a great player, and he has still not finished his career," Koeman said.

"I do not know how his situation is, and I need to respect that situation. That's not my problem.

"But even when we get one time the possibility that Rooney is an option for Everton, I'm very pleased."

Rooney, who scored 17 goals in 77 appearances for Everton, was dropped by England interim manager Gareth Southgate for their last World Cup qualifier, but Koeman remains a big fan of the 31-year-old.

Asked if he was surprised by some of the criticism Rooney has endured this season, Koeman added: "That is part of football. He is enough of an experienced person in football that he knows what can happen and everybody gets periods of critics.

"It is part of football and of the business, and you need to stay calm - that is the best thing you can do."