LONDON (AFP) - Everton honoured cult hero Duncan Ferguson with a testimonial against Villarreal on Sunday that saw Wayne Rooney make a cameo appearance for his former club.
Rooney, who started out with the Toffees before being sold to Manchester United in 2004, wore No. 18 - his original squad number at Everton - and replaced former Manchester United team-mate Tom Cleverley to a standing ovation for the final 15 minutes of a match the Spanish side won 2-1 before a crowd of almost 35,000.
United manager Louis van Gaal will be relieved that his captain and main striker Rooney emerged unscathed from his run out with the club's Premier League opener against Tottenham Hotspur only six days away.
"Going back into the home dressing room again felt weird," said England star Rooney,who moved to Old Trafford for £25.6m in August 2004.
"I was a little bit nervous as I didn't know what to expect. I got a great reception and I was delighted with that.
"It was also great for my kids to see me playing in an Everton shirt. The day brought back a lot of memories."
The biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved for the 43-year-old Ferguson, who spent ten years at the club as a player.
He came off the bench late on and was on the field when Tyias Browning netted Everton's goal in reply to strikes by Gerard Moreno and Matias Nahuel for the visitors.
Once the most expensive player in British football when bought by Rangers from Dundee United in 1993, Ferguson joined Everton initially on loan in 1994.
He stayed at the club despite serving a brief prison sentence in relation to an on-field headbutt of Raith Rovers' Jock McStay during his time at Ibrox but was sold to Newcastle United in 1998.
However, Ferguson came back for a second spell and finished his career at Goodison, where he is now part of the coaching staff.