Rooney scores from his own half as Everton thrashes West Ham
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Wayne Rooney claimed his first-ever hat trick for Everton with a stunning goal from his own half in a 4-0 thrashing of West Ham on Wednesday in the Premier League.
Hammers goalkeeper Joe Hart unintentionally set up Rooney’s wonder strike in the 66th minute after racing out on the right-hand side of his area and sliding to end Everton’s attack. Or so he thought. Hart’s angled clearance went to Rooney who was still inside the center circle. Rooney blended control with power to send the ball traveling the entire West Ham half and over the heads of West Ham’s defense with Hart still stranded.
“It’s one of, if not, the best goal(s) I’ve scored. I hit it as well as I’ve ever kicked a football. To make it my first hat trick for Everton, I’m delighted,” Rooney told BT Sport.
Asked if he has ever scored a better goal than the one which clinched his treble, Rooney said: “I don’t think so.”
The strike brought back memories of Rooney’s famous goal against West Ham for Manchester United in 2014, when he unleashed a shot from just inside the opponents’ half. Rooney rejoined Everton in the summer after 13 years with United where he scored a club record 253 goals.
Former England manager Sam Allardyce was among those applauding in the stands at Goodison Park ahead of his approaching appointment as Everton manager, replacing temporary boss David Unsworth.
Hart also played a role in Rooney’s 18th-minute opener after bringing down Dominic Calvert-Lewin to give away a penalty. Rooney stepped up and sent the ball low to Hart’s right. The England goalkeeper did well to save it, only for the ball to loop back up for Rooney to easily head in an empty net.
Rooney added a second goal 10 minutes later when the ball fell to him unmarked in the area and he calmly swept in a right-footed shot.
West Ham had a chance to get back in the game after 58 minutes when Ashley Williams carelessly gave away a penalty after hacking Diafra Sakho down but Jordan Pickford did well to save Manuel Lanzini’s spot kick. Like Hart, Pickford dived low to his right. Unlike Hart, Pickford pushed the ball away from any danger.
Ashley Williams headed in a fourth in the 78th.
Everton is up to 13th with 15 points from 14 games. While Allardyce is adept at turning clubs around, Everton’s situation may not be as bad as feared by many fans.
It was a losing return to Goodison Park for West Ham manager and former Everton boss David Moyes, whose team stays in the relegation zone two points from safety ahead of its next match on Sunday at Premier League leader Manchester City. Everton hosts Huddersfield on Saturday.