Rooney is still 'one of the best' says Koeman

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Koeman not only believes that Rooney fits perfectly into his plans at Everton, but he also thinks he is far from the faded force that many felt he was becoming at United.

The 41-cap worldwide played just 13 times for his club previous year as he had an injury-interrupted campaign, while his appearances for his country last October led to a war of words between Everton and Ireland team management.

Ross Barkley and James McCarthy are both out with groin and knee injuries respectively.

Everton have gone through a massive rebuilding project under Ronald Koeman this summer. Setting the bar too low could make fans, players and club owners question if they have the right manager for the job.

He had hoped to be involved in Everton's first-team plans in the upcoming season after being handed a squad number but hasn't played a single minute of Everton's pre-season campaign.

Mark Hughes's side welcomed Bojan Krkic back following his loan spell in Germany and it was he who drifted a cross-cum-shot over the bar late in the first half as Stoke briefly threatened. The Blues started the match poorly, and the tactical setup was unusual at best.

This is a tough opening game for the Potters but, even if they make another bad start, I am never seriously anxious about Stoke - whenever I have done in the past they always start winning.

Everton have improved their side considerably over the summer, and the return of Rooney to Goodison Park will certainly be an emotional one.

"I don't say impossible, but 25 goals is a lot and we have to find other ways and productivity from other players and we like to bring in other players in". Their only opening-match victory in the last nine seasons came in 2012-13, when they beat Manchester United 1-0 at Goodison Park.

"Everybody is looking forward to the start of the Premier League and is ready". The Potters finished with only four wins, five draws and 10 losses on the road.

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