Returning Wayne Rooney says “the players are in place” for Everton to push on and be a success this season.
The Blues’ 2017/18 pre-season campaign gets under way on Thursday afternoon when they tackle Kenyan Premier League leaders Gor Mahia in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam.
As the first Premier League club ever to visit the east Africa region, the arrival of Rooney and his Everton teammates in the country has been met with festival-like excitement.
And Rooney, who only completed a move back to Everton from Manchester United on Sunday, has already seen enough to believe the trip could be the start of a memorable campaign for the Blues.
“My return has been on the cards,” said the 31-year-old as he spoke to sports ministers and local dignitaries on Wednesday evening. “I was here [at Everton] as a young boy, aged nine, and to be back is brilliant.
“There’s a lot of new faces but it’s an exciting time for myself and certainly an exciting time for the Club.
“The Club has shown ambition. The players are in place and, with the younger lads coming through, we’re moving in the right direction. The important thing now is to be successful.
“It’s a great move for me and hopefully I can bring my qualities to the team.”
England’s all-time leading goalscorer added: “It’s great to be here in Tanzania, a new experience for myself, to come over here and enjoy it and hopefully there will be plenty of excitement with the game.
“It was a great welcome. A few of the lads have done different things in the local community and we’ve prepared for the game. It will be a tough match, especially at the start of pre-season.”
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