A big weekend for: Wayne Rooney
A return to Goodison Park is usually reason enough to keep one eye on Wayne Rooney on a Premier League weekend.
With the guarantee that Manchester United's leading man will be recast as the pantomime villain on the very stage where he once played the role of hero on a fortnightly basis.
- The Antagonist on Rooney / Joe Strange on Rooney / The Libero on Rooney
This season the Everton faithful have been armed with the contents of a tabloid scandal to add to their unforgiving sense of betrayal and unrelenting vilification.
Rooney is in for a hate-filled abuse swarm of biblical proportions and you can be sure that he is anticipating the occasion with nothing but relish.
The 24-year-old provided evidence of his ability to thrive under a cloud of negativity this week on England duty with a succession of performances reminiscent of a man nearing his vast potential once more.
As the architect of all four of England's goals against Bulgaria at Wembley, Rooney then brought an 11 game/12 month international goal drought to an end with a first half strike.
Jeered for an uncharacteristic poor touch on Friday, viciously scorned in the press on Sunday and given a standing ovation in Basle on Tuesday. A week in the life of England's star man.
Based on the evidence presented, David Moyes’ Everton could be in for a testing afternoon, attempting to thwart an unchained beast with a soft spot for the pressure cooker.
It is true that Rooney is still carrying some of the baggage collected during a goalless and, at times, hopeless World Cup campaign and has only a solitary Premier League goal to his name thus far. But the 24-year-old has the talent and temperament to rid himself of such constraints by doing what he does best; playing football.
Everton defender and England colleague Phil Jagielka has already waved a red flag in the face of the man in question with the promise of a good sledging.
The jury is out as to whether he and Everton will live to tell the tale.
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