Wayne Rooney admitted it felt “weird” putting on the blue shirt of his boyhood club Everton once again in a testimonial match for Goodison Park cult hero Duncan Ferguson on Sunday.
Rooney, who started out with the Toffees before being sold to Manchester United in 2004, came off the bench to a standing ovation for the final 15 minutes of the match against Villarreal which the Spanish side won 2-1 before a crowd of almost 35,000.
United manager Louis van Gaal will be relieved that Rooney emerged unscathed from his run out with the Old Trafford club’s Premier League opener against Tottenham only six days away.
“Going back into the home dressing room again felt weird,” said England star Rooney.
“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.”
Ferguson, now 43, himself 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.