Ronald Koeman highlighted the impact of Wayne Rooney and declared himself pleased with his side’s efforts after a 2-1 win over Gor Mahia in Tanzania.
The Blues’ game against Kenya’s most successful side was the culmination of a trip to Tanzania to celebrate the Club-record partnership with gaming giant SportPesa.
On his first appearance since returning to the Club, Wayne Rooney opened the scoring with an incredible 30-yard effort on 34 minutes in front of a raucous crowd at the National Stadium.
Gor Mahia then levelled just before the half-time interval, but Kieran Dowell’s second-half strike - another long-range goal - earned Koeman’s side victory in their first pre-season fixture.
“Rooney is still one of the best in his position,” Koeman told evertontv after the game. “He is a winner, who knows how to win titles and we want that. We spoke about more productivity for the strikers and you saw what he did today. He can be a key player.
“Overall, I’m happy. It was our first friendly - we saw the difference in the second half and we created good chances to score more goals.
“It was a good game but a difficult one,Gor Mahia made it tough for us. They dropped their intensity a little bit in the second half and we were the better team with fresh players.
“They were a good team and made it hard for us to find our extra man in midfield. They can be proud of their performance and I want to give them a lot of compliments for making it so tough for us.”
Everton became the first Premier League side to play a game in Tanzania - and speaking about the visit, Koeman added: “It has been an enjoyable stay. It has been short because of our pre-season schedule ahead of the Europa League, but I want to thank everyone for the welcome we have had.
“I have really enjoyed my time here. I enjoyed the intensity of the friendly as well. It has been a positive trip.”
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