If Wayne Rooney was hoping to make an impression on his competitive return for Everton in the Europa League, he certainly did exactly that.
The problem is that the impression Rooney ended up making on his Goodison Park return was one of and out-of-sorts footballer preparing for another underwhelming season in the top flight.
There had been high hopes that a move back to his boyhood club would give Rooney a new lease of life after a year to forget at Old Trafford. But that didn’t prove to be the case gainst Ruzomberok – a team that finished third in Slovakia’s Fortuna Liga.
Instead, Rooney was back to his lumbering self, struggling to fill the centre forward role for Everton left vacant by Romelu Lukaku’s departure to Manchester United. He failed to compete with defender Jan Maslo in the air and was equally inept with the ball at his feet.
It was a performance that prompted some Everton fans online to wonder whether the entire move would end up being a terrible mistake, while elsewhere Manchester United supporters breathed a sigh of relief over his exit.
On two separate occasions, Rooney was guilty of wasting chances, while one shot in particular proved so poor, it went viral with fans online.
Of course, this is still extremely early on in the season and Rooney, along with Everton, have time to improve and impress.
But there will be trickier tests than a home tie with Ruzomberok to come. This may be a new-look Everton team but it’s one that should be putting games like this to bed with ease, given the quality of the opposition on show.
Instead, they now head to Slovakia for a potentially tricky away fixture. Lose that and suddenly a campaign of European football goes out the window and something tells us Rooney didn’t sign up for that.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.