Rooney to make Everton return

Almost 11 years after leaving Everton, Wayne Rooney will wear the blue shirt once again next month.

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney will once again pull on an Everton shirt after agreeing to play in Duncan Ferguson's testimonial next month.

Everton fan Rooney came through the youth ranks at Goodison Park and played alongside fellow striker Ferguson after breaking into the first-team as a 16-year-old.

The England skipper departed for United in August 2004, but he will feature for Everton against Villarreal on August 2 to honour a player he described as a "hero".

"As a young lad growing up in Croxteth, Duncan Ferguson was a hero of mine, as a young player at the club he was an inspiration and when I broke into the first team he helped and looked after me," Rooney told Everton's official website.

"I cannot think of a better way to thank Dunc for all he did for me than turning out in his fully deserved testimonial match. Had he not asked me to play I would have gone and supported him on the day as I am sure most other Evertonians will."

Ferguson is a cult figure at Everton having scored 72 goals in 191 appearances across two spells at the club.

And the Scot spoke of his appreciation that Rooney has agreed to feature in the match.

"I'm absolutely delighted that the wee man has agreed to play in the game," Ferguson said. "Everybody knows that we go way back. I knew him as a kid, he's a top man and I'm proud as his friend that he's fulfilled the potential we always knew was there.

"Wayne's a world-class player and I'm genuinely thrilled that he will play on the day."