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Rooney: Everton return brings out the best in me

Wayne Rooney is motivated by the high expectations on his shoulders after marking his Everton return with the winning goal against Stoke City.

The former Manchester United striker's first-half header proved decisive as he celebrated a dream second Premier League debut for the club on Saturday.

Rooney is now determined to deliver his best for his boyhood side, while also proving some doubters wrong.

"There is a lot of ­expectation, coming back here," he said. "There are some fans who maybe thought I wasn't good enough to come back here, but it is up to me to prove myself.

"I have been working hard and I am ready for that ­challenge to prove myself. I could have gone to another Premier League team and taken my foot off the gas and seen the last few years out. But coming back here? I have got to be the best I can be.

"It is the club I grew up supporting, it's the club I want to play for. I want to do well. I knew when I came back, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself. That is how I like to play."

When Rooney burst onto the scene with the Toffees in 2002, he was a bustling teenager with a potent combination of pace, power and aggression.

Over the course of his United career, during which he became the club's and his country's all-time record goalscorer, his game has evolved and the 31-year-old is confident he still has much to offer.

"Football fans aren't silly," he said. "Everyone knows I'm not the explosive player who was here when I was 16 to 18. I think I'm a lot cleverer than I was back then.

"My game has changed. Hopefully the change in my game can help the team."