By Abigail Withey 

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has revealed that he believes Wayne Rooney is one of the most important players in the club’s history ahead of his side’s clash with Everton on Sunday afternoon.

The 31-year-old striker moved to his boyhood club on a free transfer over the summer window which ended his 13 year spell at Old Trafford.

Sunday will mark Rooney’s first encounter against his former team mates since leaving, but Mourinho remains confident that he will receive a positive reception from United fans because of his achievements at the club.

“I think sometimes the word ‘legend’ is used too easily but that’s not this case, he’s a real legend in the club,” the United manager said during his press conference, which was shared on the club’s official Twitter account.

“The number of appearances, the number of trophies, the number of goals. I think he is clearly one of the most important players in the history of Manchester United.

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“I think the stadium will show him the respect that he deserves.”

During his 13 year stint with the Red Devils, the former skipper helped the club secure five Premier League titles.

He made 559 appearances in a United jersey throughout the years where he scored 253 goals and provided 145 assists.

Since rejoining his former youth club, Rooney has featured in all of the Toffees’ nine matches across all competitions so far where he managed to score two goals.

Everton boss Ronald Koeman will be aware of how vital a win for his side will be against Rooney’s former team mates as the Merseysiders run in the Premier League hasn’t been overly successful after securing just one win during the opening weekend of the competition.

Koeman’s side recently suffered a terrible 3-0 defeat to Atalanta during their first match in the Europa League group stage, which the team will be eager to move on from.

In other Everton news, Phil Thompson has predicted the outcome of Everton v Manchester United.

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