Wayne Rooney scored a stunning goal in his own half to complete a hat-trick as Everton thrashed West Ham in front of incoming manager Sam Allardyce.
The Merseysiders moved up four places to 13th in the table as Rooney latched onto Joe Hart’s scrambled clearance and powered a half-volley beyond the stranded England goalkeeper and into the empty net.
“It was one of the best goals I’ve ever scored,” he said. “I hit it as well as I’ve ever hit a football. To make it my first Everton hat-trick was special. It was a perfect moment.”
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Hammers manager David Moyes, who saw midfielder Manuel Lanzini’s penalty saved by Jordan Pickford when West Ham trailed 2-0, was left to rue a terrible first half from the Londoners at his former club.
Rooney headed in the rebound after Hart saved his penalty for the game’s opener, and swept in his second 10 minutes later after good build-up from youngsters Jonjoe Kenny and Tom Davies.
Defender Ashley Williams added the fourth late on, powering a header beyond Hart from a corner as West Ham remain in 18th position.
Everton had to withstand sustained pressure after the break when the introduction of Diafra Sakho helped West Ham rally.
But caretaker manager David Unsworth – who will return to coaching the club’s under-23s – signed off his eight-game spell since Ronald Koeman’s sacking in October with a deserved win. The Toffees also recorded their first league clean sheet since the opening game of the season against Stoke.
Big Sam can trust in Rooney
Allardyce watched a performance drastically at odds with Everton’s woeful form of late and will have learned he can still count on captain Rooney, who he selected in his only game as England manager in September 2016 when they beat Slovakia 1-0.
Unsworth, who left Rooney out for Sunday’s 4-1 capitulation at Southampton, has been deploying Rooney in midfield – a role to which he seems increasingly suited.
Playing largely in central midfield against the Hammers, he made an impression that will resonate even stronger in Allardyce’s mind as he seeks to build on this redemptive win and take Everton further up the table.
“Wayne played wherever he wanted to. He was brilliant and controlled midfield. I can’t stop Wayne playing there,” said Allardyce after that England game. He could just as well have been talking about this cold November night at Goodison.