Footballers’ first club returns
Following reports of Wayne Rooney’s move back to Everton being just days away, Ronald Koeman seems to have capitalised on Manchester United willingness to let him leave.
Koeman’s words a few moths ago hinted at a return, but most thought he would head to the riches of China or America: “What will happen at the end of the season? I don’t know, but in my opinion [Rooney] is one of the players who can make Everton more stronger.
“It’s all about what the player likes, what Manchester United needs to do, and we are not involved in that project. But every player that we at Everton think can make the team stronger is welcome to Everton.”
So, in light of Rooney potentially going back to the team he started off at – with Romelu Lukaku heading the other way – FootyOn have come up with five other footballers that made first club returns…
Merseysider Rooney also features in our Scouse-born XI, while the Toffees are 8/1 with Sky Bet for a top four finish this coming campaign after an impressive summer.
Cole is a cockney through and through, and came through the ranks at east London outfit West Ham United.
Making his debut as a 17-year-old, he was touted as a star of the future, and spent five seasons in the Hammers’ senior team.
However, after the Irons were relegated from the Premier League, he was sold to Chelsea, where his career further progressed.
Cole clearly made a lasting impression on the fans, though, as he was welcomed back at Upton Park in 2013, despite being well past his peak.
Although born in Cheshire and spending his early years in Singapore, Crouch was also brought up in London.
Coming through QPR and Tottenham’s academies, he started playing football while at the latter.
Though, he didn’t actually start a game for them in that time – being sent out on loan.
Crouch did, however, star for Spurs from 2009-11, and once scored a crucial goal for them to secure a top four position, and thus qualifying for the Champions League for the first time.
The giant Stoke City striker also returned to QPR for a season spell earlier in his career.
Pique is the only player in this first club returns list not to have started out in England, but he did come over at an early age.
The world class centre back was a product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, but joined Manchester United as a teenager.
After spending four years at Old Trafford, though, he was never a regular – despite winning Premier League and Champions League titles – so decided to go back home to his beloved Catalonia.
Pique has since been a first choice for Barca, and become one of the best defenders in the world.
Another who joined Man Utd at a young age.
Pogba actually joined the Red Devils from Le Havre as a youth a year after Pique departed, but spent more time in the academy.
After becoming frustrated with Sir Alex Ferguson due to lack of game time, he left for a free transfer to Juventus – a move that the Red Devils would live to regret.
Just four years later, Pogba had become one of the best players in the world, so Man Utd were forced to break the transfer record to bring him back home.
Last, and perhaps least in terms of ability, is Hull hero Windass.
While he may not have been as good on the pitch as the above stars, he was certainly loved as much, if not more, than his boyhood club than the rest.
Born in Hull, the former attacker was in their youth academy, but was actually released before making a senior appearance.
New manager at the time Terry Dolan then decided to bring him back in 1991, and became a firm fans’ favourite.
Windass famously smashed in a volley that saw the Tigers promoted to the Premier League in 2008 – over a decade after leaving them before.
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