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Dublin: 6°C Thursday 25 February 2021

'Four weeks ago we would have lost that game': Rooney praises Toffees' new-found character

The club remain unbeaten under Sam Allardyce after a 3-1 win against Swansea.

WAYNE ROONEY SUGGESTED an improvement in character has been key to Everton’s resurgence after he scored in a comeback win at home to Swansea City.

Rooney’s penalty wrapped up a 3-1 Premier League victory at Goodison Park on Monday, although he had previously been denied from 12 yards – spared by Dominic Calvert-Lewin tucking in the rebound.

Everton trailed to Leroy Fer’s goal before fighting back to claim a fourth win in five unbeaten league games since the announcement of Sam Allardyce as Ronald Koeman’s successor.

And Rooney indicated the new Everton boss has turned things around for the club, the Toffees rising to ninth in the Premier League table after their latest victory.

“I think tonight we were sloppy at times and didn’t play as well as we can,” Rooney told Sky Sports.

“But we showed great character to come back - four weeks ago we would have lost that game. We’re moving in the right direction and hopefully over Christmas we can pick up some more points. There were small things we were doing wrong in the first part of the season. If we went behind, we had a feeling we couldn’t get back into it.

“[Everton are now] staying solid, staying in the game, then trying to express ourselves. That’s what we’ve worked on at the training ground.”

Although Rooney has been operating in an advanced midfield role rather than in his old role up front, he has hit six goals in his last five league games.

The former England captain also provided the assist for Gylfi Sigurdsson’s terrific goal against his old team.

“I think it’s the right position for me at this stage in my career,” Rooney added.

“I can pick when to get in the box and when to stay out and help to control the game. I know I can play there and score goals. That’s what I’ve done in the last few weeks. I never set targets in any season, just play the next game. Sometimes you get chances and score and hopefully that continues. I feel fit and fresh.

“It’s been no secret over my career that the more I play the fitter I am, and I’m enjoying being back here and winning games.”

The42 has just published its first book, Behind The Lines, a collection of some of the year’s best sports stories. Pick up your copy in Eason’s, or order it here today (€10):

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