Post by Everton News. on Apr 25, 2015 14:40:26 GMT
Phil Jagielka: Wayne Rooney never plays well at Goodison because he LOVES Everton still
WAYNE ROONEY'S deep-rooted love of Everton inhibits his game whenever he returns to Goodison Park, according to Phil Jagielka.
Phil Jagielka says Rooney underperforms at Everton because he loves the club
Jagielka, the man who will be charged with marking Rooney, is not inclined to tempt fate ahead of tomorrow's clash but he knows how difficult playing at his spiritual home has been for the Manchester United and England captain.
In his nine visits back to the club where he launched his career, United have a mixed record of four wins, four defeats and a draw but Rooney will be the first to admit he has rarely had a good game.
He has scored twice but the second of those was seven years ago and Sir Alex Ferguson even left him out of United's visit in September 2010 when he was dogged by problems on and off the pitch.
"Yes, definitely, it's difficult for Wayne," said Everton skipper Jagielka. "You can imagine being the age he was and him playing for the team he supported and then the big move to United. I'm sure he said a few things and did a few things as a young lad just to defend himself.
"I speak to him all the time and he's always keen to know how we have got on - he's still a big Evertonian. Obviously he has an affiliation with Manchester United, he has been there a long time, he's the captain now, so you understand that - but he still loves the club."
After joining United in a £25million deal in 2004, Rooney was constantly reminded by Evertonians of the T-shirt he revealed in an FA Youth Cup final with the message "Once a Blue, always a Blue".
The hostility has not been quite so vitriolic in recent years and Jagielka believes the problem is more a case of Rooney trying too hard and losing his instinctive edge.
"He still gets a little bit of stick, although it has dampened down recently but it is probably that Wayne wants to show it too much, maybe he is trying too hard when he comes back," he said.
"We all know Wayne - when he is playing his best , everything comes naturally. He doesn't need to be a thinker, he's just an instinctive, raw talent."
Jagielka and Rooney are good friends as well as England colleagues but that will not stop unmerciful ribbing whoever comes out on top tomorrow.
Phil Jagielka was interviewed courtesy of Everton's official sponsor Chang Beer at Chaophraya
"Is it difficult playing against a mate? It is and it isn't," said Jagielka. "We certainly won't be friends during the game - that's the way Wayne plays. He enjoys the battle. If he can nutmeg me or he can score or he can do something special, you know the next time you see him with England he'll have a big smile on his face.
"And vice versa, if he has a nightmare or gets subbed off or whatever, I'll be going straight to see him and showing him my smile."
Jagielka believes the captaincy of club and country has brought a new dimension to Rooney's game.
"A lot of people are quick to have a go at him but he has definitely matured. You forget that he's not even 30 yet and you think about what he has been through in his career and it feels like he has been around forever and must be about 50!
Phil Jagielka in the Chaophraya kitchens, Liverpool
"He still has a laugh and a joke but I think it [captaincy] has been the best thing for him for club and country. He commands a lot of respect from his peers and why not?"
While it seems highly unlikely, Jagielka has not ruled out Rooney returning to Everton towards the end of his career.
"We have a laugh and a joke about it," he said. "It depends on a lot of things doesn't it? He has a big future at United and I can't see them letting him go anytime soon. And he wouldn't want to come back at the end when he wasn't the player he once was. Wayne has high standards. He would want to come back and make a difference."
With United bidding to cement a return to the Champions League next season, you can be sure Rooney will be striving to bury his Goodison blues and make a difference tomorrow.
Phil Jagielka was interviewed courtesy of Everton's official sponsor Chang Beer at Thai restaurant, Chaophraya, Liverpool One.