Has Wayne Rooney fallen out of favour at Everton?
By Joe Harker
Wayne Rooney is the prodigal son at Everton. He burst onto the footballing scene more than a decade ago as a teenager before joining Manchester United, where he won every major trophy at least once and became the club's top scorer.
When he returned to Everton there was excitement and a hope that the striker could roll back the years and help fill the gap left by Romelu Lukaku. Things have been hit and miss since then, but recently Rooney has looked off pace and to be struggling.
Everton manager Sam Allardyce sat down with the player after his angry reaction to being substituted in the Merseyside derby. The game ended in a goalless draw and 57 minutes in Allardyce decided Rooney had played enough, being brought off for Idrissa Gueye. The manager said he understood why Rooney reacted the way he did. He said: "Wayne's disappointment was frustration at the fact of being an Evertonian through and through - he's been an Evertonian all his life.
"That was too much for him to take and he had to show his frustration. We'll sit down in the next week and we'll talk it through and we'll see how he feels. I'm sure he's calmed down a little bit now."
However, Allardyce reportedly also called on Rooney to improve after saying the "stats don't lie" and were showing that he hasn't been good enough recently. Rooney has been played in a number of positions and Allardyce has been using him as a central midfielder, but his performances have been lacking and the manager wants him to up his game.
Some think Allardyce substituting Rooney is evidence that he wants to sell the player in the summer. Former footballer Micky Quinn suggested that "Rooney's days are numbered" if Allardyce is still in charge next season, though there might be a reprieve as the manager is not popular among fans and could be sacked and replaced with someone the club see as more suitable for their objectives. Rooney is the club's top scorer this season but his form has been inconsistent and his place is under threat.
Michael Ball of the Liverpool Echo believes Rooney needs better management and suggests Allardyce is to blame. Ball suggests that Rooney needs to stay on the pitch to help the team and criticises the manager for not picking him or taking him off.
Perhaps Wayne Rooney has fallen out of favour at Everton, but fans are not content with the management and some believe it is not the player's fault.