Harry Redknapp: This striker would catapult Everton into Champions League
By Alex Stevens
Wayne Rooney has been urged to re-sign for boyhood club Everton and spearhead them into the Premier League top four by Harry Redknapp.
The veteran manager is convinced that an emotional return to Goodison Park would reignite the career of the England and Manchester United captain.
Former Tottenham, West Ham and Southampton boss Redknapp believes Rooney is good enough to catapult Everton into the Champions League.
Striker Rooney became Manchester United’s all-time record scorer on Saturday when he climbed off the bench to score a late equaliser against Stoke, breaking Bobby Charlton’s landmark to notch his 250th goal for the club.
However, it was only the second league goal of the season for the 31-year-old and his future at Old Trafford is far from certain under Jose Mourinho, with half of his 16 Premier League appearances this season coming as a substitute.
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Redknapp believes Rooney should forget about one last mega pay day in China or America and instead target one last challenge in the Premier League with boyhood club Everton.
The Croxteth-born star came through the ranks at the Merseyside club and made some of Europe’s biggest clubs sit up and take notice being tempted away at the age of 18 by United in 2004.
“Mourinho doesn’t see him as a starter,” Redknapp told the Jim White Show on talkSPORT on Monday morning. “He doesn’t think he is better than Zlatan.
“Maybe it is time for him to have one more challenge – go somewhere where is wanted and going to be a big player.
“He could go back to his own club Everton. He is an Everton fan. Go back there, finish your career there and take Everton into the Champions League positions.
“He could go there and turn them into a top four club. He could make the difference.
“He could help these young kids who have come in. Imagine having Rooney back around to help on the park, look after them and teach them the game.”
Everton fans used to target Rooney for abuse when he returned to Goodison with United but the relationship between player and supporters has noticeably thawed in recent years.
The Merseyside club have an excellent reputation for developing young talent, with current first-team trio Ross Barkley, Mason Holgate and Tom Davies all following the same path as Rooney did from academy to the starting XI of the senior side.