Everton v Ruzomberok preview: Wayne Rooney set for Euro debut with Toffees

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Wayne Rooney will make his European debut for Everton when the Toffees kick off their Europa League campaign on Thursday.

Rooney has already impressed in pre-season since rejoining his boyhood club from Manchester United but will make his competitive return at Goodison Park in the third-round qualifying first leg against Slovakian side MFK Ruzomberok.

“Something I always wanted to do was play in Europe with Everton,” Rooney, who has scored in warm-up games against Genk and Gor Mahia, said.
“I was a bit disappointed not to do that before but now I’ll have a chance. Obviously, I won the trophy last year so I’m hoping as a club we can go far and, you never know, try to win it. It would be even better.”
“We know he is used to winning titles, which is what we want at Everton,” boss Ronald Koeman said of the 31-year-old.

“The confidence in his football is what I like but what I really like is his ambition in training, showing to the young lads his experience and explaining things.

“He is a big player in England and of course young players know everything about Wayne Rooney and he is an example about winning titles and he can be a teacher for young players off the pitch.”

Fellow summer arrivals Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen and Cuco Martina may also feature but Ross Barkley, who is set to leave the club, is recovering from groin surgery and Yannick Bolasie (knee) and Seamus Coleman (broken leg) are also unavailable.
Ruzomberok, playing in Europe for the first time in 11 years, finished third in the Slovakian top flight last season, but despite playing catch-up in their new season preparations, Koeman is confident his side can progress.

“There are no easy games,” he said. “Everybody is preparing in the best way they can but most of the teams are already further into their pre-season.

“This team have played already two qualification rounds and one domestic game but we’d like to reach the group stage and that means you have to beat everybody in the draw that you get.

“It’s not an easy job but I think we’re totally confident we can reach the group stage.”

The winners of the tie will advance to August’s play-off round – the final two-legged knockout round before the group stage starts in September.Euro Soccer Bonus

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