Everton stalwart Tony Hibbert believes it is not beyond the realms of possibility for former blue Wayne Rooney to finish his career at the club.
The full back- who after 11 years and 309 appearances in the first team will have his services recognised with a testimonial revealed to the Daily Mail that Rooney had asked to play in the game against AEK Athens.
Hibbert said it was ‘a great honour’ to hear that his old team mate wanted to participate in the friendly and he would have if Manchester United were not due to play Barcelona in Sweden tonight.
But Hibbert believes that Everton fans may still get to see the England international in a royal blue shirt again, telling the Mail a return to Everton is possible:
“I think it is. If Wayne says it, then I think the club would be stupid not to welcome him back. I think there would be a few moans but for us to get a player like Wayne Rooney would be massive.”
Evidently the defender is just speculating but it is an interesting proposition.
Of course there is no chance of Rooney returning in the foreseeable future. At 26 he still has his best years ahead of him and will want to continue to compete for major honours. Everton, sadly, cannot meet these ambitions, or his wage demands.
But further down the line, once he has achieved all he can, could Rooney make Goodison Park shake again like it did against Arsenal?
Blues fans will rightly recall that Rooney handed in a transfer request before his acrimonious move to United and the infamous badge kissing incident during a 1-1 draw in October 2008.
But the player told EvertonTV in January 2010: “”I love Everton. I grew up supporting them and want them to win. All my family are fans, my son has a kit. Everton are still a big part of my life”.
Would he still be an asset in his 30s? His footballing brain is such that should his legs go he would still have something to offer in the Premier League.
Again I reiterate, Hibbert’s comments have merely fuelled speculation but the striker has admitted he has never considered playing abroad and despite handing in a famous transfer request, it is hard to imagine him playing for another English club.
Currently it looks as if he is destined to stay at Manchester United, but should he decide to finish his career elsewhere Everton could be a fitting destination.
Rooney once proudly revealed a t-shirt which read: ‘Once a Blue always a Blue” and Hibbert’s comments suggest that he would welcome the opportunity to one day return to his former club.
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