Quick links

Everton

Is Rooney's continued inclusion proving to be a problem for Everton?

Wayne Rooney of Everton reacts during the Premier League match between Everton and Burnley at Goodison Park on October 1, 2017 in Liverpool, England.

Wayne Rooney has played all but one of Everton's matches so far this season and perhaps that is where the problem lies.

Ronald Koeman, Manager of Everton looks on during the UEFA Europa League group E match between Everton FC and Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park on September 28, 2017 in Liverpool, United...Ronald Koeman, manager of Everton, looks on during the UEFA Europa League group E match against Apollon Limassol.

Everton return to Premier League action this Sunday (October 15) with a trip to newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion with manager Ronald Koeman under serious pressure.

The Dutchman is the current 1/3 favourite with Skybet to be the next boss from the English top flight to be sacked with the Toffees sitting 16th in the table and just two points outside the relegation zone.

Gylfi Sigurdsson of Everton looks dejected after the Premier League match between Everton and Burnley at Goodison Park on October 1, 2017 in Liverpool, England.Gylfi Sigurdsson of Everton looks dejected after the Premier League match against Burnley.

With only bottom-placed Crystal Palace and Swansea City having scored fewer than the Merseysiders' four goals and only Palace and West Ham United having conceded more than their 12 against, it is easy to see why questions are being asked about Koeman.

Perhaps one of the 54-year-old's more surprising decisions has been his heavy reliance on Wayne Rooney following the attacker's return to Goodison Park after 13 years with Manchester United.

Wayne Rooney of Everton reacts during the Premier League match between Everton and Burnley at Goodison Park on October 1, 2017 in Liverpool, England.Wayne Rooney of Everton reacts during the Premier League match against Burnley.

Rooney has played all but the Carabao Cup victory over Sunderland this season, with 13 appearances in all competitions, and perhaps unsurprisingly his work rate and energy has been commended.

Yet is that papering over the cracks? The inclusion of Rooney as a number ten has seen Gylfi Sigurdsson pushed out wide and as a result the club record signing has struggled to make much impact since his own switch from Swansea.

There is no denying the former England captain's talent, but would many other top flight clubs have taken a gamble on him after a succession of indifferent years with the Red Devils?

Rooney's experience and influence off the pitch is perhaps his biggest asset now in his twilight years, but relying on the 31-year-old so heavily on it is arguably a major contribution to their lack of mobility, pace and cohesion in the side.

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch