Rooney scores on return to Everton

DAR ES SALAAM (Tanzania) • Wayne Rooney marked his first game back in an Everton jersey with a goal in a pre-season friendly against Kenya's Gor Mahia in Tanzania on Thursday.

England's record goal-scorer (53 goals) was making his first appearance since he rejoined his boyhood club from Manchester United last week on a free transfer after 13 years at Old Trafford.

And he delighted the crowd by scoring a superb goal from long range to help the Toffees win 2-1 in what was the first match for an English Premier League side in East Africa.

Youngster Kieran Dowell scored their winner.

"To score for Everton again is a great feeling," Rooney told Everton TV after the match.

"It's something I've been thinking of for the last couple of weeks, once I knew (the move to Everton) was happening.

"Thankfully, I've done it in today's game and that 45 minutes will only help."

The 31-year-old forward sat out the second half as Everton manager Ronald Koeman chose to make 11 changes.

New signings midfielder Davy Klaassen of the Netherlands and English defender Michael Keane also played 45 minutes each.

Winger Aaron Lennon, another Englishman, made his first appearance since Feb 11 following his treatment for a stress-related illness.

Everton received a warm welcome after arriving in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday with large numbers of Tanzanian football fans eager to greet Rooney and his new team-mates.

The Merseysiders are touring the region as part of their preparations for the upcoming Premier League season after signing a deal with Kenyan betting firm SportPesa in May to become their new shirt sponsor.

SportPesa was Hull City's shirt sponsor last season, but the Tigers were relegated from the top flight at the end of the 2016-17 campaign. SportPesa also has partnerships with Arsenal and Southampton.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2017, with the headline 'Rooney scores on return to Everton'. Print Edition | Subscribe