Rooney and Everton: When boyhood heroes hear the call of home

Manchester United captain could go to Goodison Park

Everton, Manchester United, Wayne Rooney, Duncan Ferguson, testimonial

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney is all smiles as he plays for Everton during Duncan Ferguson's testimonial game against Villarreal. Martin Rickett/EMPICS Sport

Wayne Rooney might have been away for close to 13 years but at heart the Manchester United captain remains an Everton fan.

He could be a bit more than just a fan too should the Everton academy graduate make a decision to return to Merseyside as he apparently mulls over the possibility.

The 31 year old would not be breaking new ground by spending the guts of a decade away from a hometown club.

Take La Liga for example. At present a few boyhood heroes are currently enjoying late-career spells at their debut clubs.

Fernando Torres spent six years in the Atletico Madrid academy before breaking into the first team in the 2000-01 season.

The former Spain international became much loved by Atleti fans as one of their own and plundered more than 80 La Liga goals for Atletico before departing for Liverpool in 2007.

Barcelona's, Messi, right, and Betis's, Joaquin Sanchez, left, vie for the ball during their La Liga soccer match at the Benito Villamarin stadium, in Seville, Spain on Saturday, April. 30, 2016. (AP Photo/Angel Fernandez)

They were difficult years for Atletico but by the time he returned home to the Vicente Calderon (first on loan in 2015 and then permanently), Diego Simeone had turned the club into one of Spain and Europe's best.

Since his return, he has managed to breach the 100-goal mark for Atletico and recently scored an outstandingly audacious goal in a 3-2 win over Celta Vigo.

Over in Sevilla, Real Betis are providing a stage for ex-Spain winger Joaquin. A product of the Betis academy, Joaquin stayed at the club from the age of 13 all the way to 2006 when he turned 25 and left for Valencia.

With two year spells at Italy's Fiorentina and back in La Liga with Malaga, the call for home would come in 2015 when he would rejoin Betis. 

When Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler returned to Anfield in the 2006-07 season, he hadn't been away quite as long as Torres or Joaquin.

But it bridged a gap of five years which were spent at Leeds United and Manchester City and just goes to show how attached he was to Liverpool that he did return home.

Former and present Newcastle stars turn out in respect for Peter Beardsley's testimonial match against Celtic at St. James Park, Newcastle. Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/PA Images

Another ex-Liverpool striker who had a similar attachment to his first club was Peter Beardsley, except in his case it was Newcastle United.

Released by the Magpies as a teenager in the late 1970s, the former England forward returned for a four year spell in the mid-80s. And in the mid-90s, he was back for a third bite at the cherry. As a coach, Beardsley also went on to work at the club

During Harry Redknapp's reign as West Ham boss (he himself was a former youth graduate and player at the club in the 1960s and '70s), the club produced outstanding talents like Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick. They would all leave for success elsewhere. Only one player did return and that was Joe Cole.

He had been away for a decade when the ex-England midfielder returned briefly for one season in 2013-14.

His former Chelsea team-mate Andriy Shevchenko did something similar with Dinamo Kyiv. Emerging as a star at the Ukrainian club in the 1990s, he went on to earn legend status at AC Milan.

But after his failure at Chelsea and an underwhelming loan return to Milan in 2008, the all time Ukraine top scorer returned to Dinamo in 2009 for three years when he would rediscover his goalscoring touch.