Sunday, June 26, 2022

“He’s An Evertonian”: Gabby Agbonlahor Backs Wayne Rooney To Replace Rafa Benitez

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

Halfway through the 2021/22 campaign, Everton have emerged as one of the most underwhelming performers in the Premier League this term. After appointing Rafa Benitez as the head coach in the summer, there haven’t been any major signs of improvement in Goodison Park, as the club struggles to get into the top half of the Premier League table.

With 18 matches played, Everton are currently dawdling in 15th position, 12 points adrift of the top seven. The club has secured only one win in their last 12 league matches, which has put Benitez under real pressure.

Although Benitez has maintained that he is not worried about his status at the club, a certain section of fans are demanding the sacking of the Spanish tactician. There have been whispers surrounding Wayne Rooney being lined up as the potential successor should Everton sack Rafa, who is not a popular figure at Goodison due to his past at Liverpool.

Former Aston Villa professional Agbonlahor certainly thinks appointing Rooney could be a good idea due to his Everton DNA. In a recent interview with Football Insider, the former forward striker stated: “I think it would be a great appointment. He’s an Evertonian, he loves the club, I think it would be a good appointment.”

Everton (Wayne Rooney)
DERBY, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 27: Wayne Rooney, Manager of Derby County is interviewed after the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and West Bromwich Albion at Pride Park Stadium on December 27, 2021 in Derby, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
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A native of Merseyside, Rooney was indeed a product of the Everton youth academy. He played for the Toffees first-team for two years from 2002-2004, making an impression in the Premier League before earning an eye-catching move to Manchester United.

The forward did return to Goodison Park briefly back in 2017, playing for a year before eventually moving to DC United. Overall, the Englishman had featured in 117 matches for his hometown club, scoring 28 goals.

Maintaining his stance on Rooney, Agbonlahor added: Rooney as the manager with Duncan Ferguson as his assistant, I think they would definitely get more out of those players. He’s doing a very good job with Derby County.”

Rooney was player-manager at Derby County for a short time before taking on the full-time role of a manager earlier last year. Under his leadership, the Rams narrowly avoided relegation last term. With just 11 points collected in 25 matches, Derby seem destined to be relegated this season, so it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Rooney as a manager, over the coming months.

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