Wayne Rooney celebrated his Premier League return to Everton by scoring his first goal for the club since 2004.
Rooney sparked an emotional ovation at Goodison Park when he rose well to plant a header past Stoke’s Jack Butland in first-half injury time.
The 31-year-old spontaneously ran to the corner flag and slid to his knees in joy, 4,870 days after his previous goal for the club against Leeds United soon before he left to join Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney completed his return to Goodison Park with a sensational header to beat Stoke 1-0 in their opening game
The Toffees forward ghosted into the box after pushing away Joe Allen before Dominic Calvert-Lewin floated the ball in
His header sailed beyond Jack Butland in the Stoke goal as he registered his first goal for Everton since leaving in 2004
Rooney sprints to the adoring fans as team-mates Daby Klaassen and Idrissa Gueye celebrate with the returning hero
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND LEAGUE TABLE
Everton (3-5-2): Pickford 6.5; Keane 7, Jagielka 7, Williams 5.5 (Martina 45 6); Calvert-Lewin 6.5, Schneiderlin 7 Gueye 7.5, Klaasen 6 (Davies 60 6), Baines 6; Rooney 7, Ramirez 6.5 (Mirallas 77 6)
Subs unused: Stekelenburg (Gk), Besic, Holgate, Lookman
Goal: Rooney 45
Stoke City(3-4-3): Butland 7; Cameron 7, Shawcross 6.5, Zouma 7; Diouf 6.5, Fletcher 6, Allen 6, Pieters 6.5; Shaqiri 6, Berahino 6 (Chouplo-Moting 72 6.5), Bojan 5.5 (Crouch 72 6)
Subs unused: Grant, Johnson, Tymon, Adam, Sobhi
Referee: Neil Swarbrick 7
Season at glance
Wayne Rooney’s stunning goal on return
As for Stoke City, they will be sick of the sight of Rooney. In January, his free-kick against them took him past Sir Bobby Charlton’s goal tally to become Manchester United’s record goalscorer.
It was an afternoon that signalled a new era at Everton. In total, Ronald Koeman gave five Premier League debuts to Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Davy Klaasen, Sandro Ramirez and Cuco Martina, with the returning Rooney also making his domestic reappearance having featured in the Europa League last month.
Such is the optimism at Goodison under new owner Farhad Moshiri despite the sale of Romelu Lukaku, Stoke could have been forgiven for questioning whether it was worth bothering to turn up.
But with two debutants of their own, Darren Fletcher and Chelsea loanee Kurt Zouma, it was the visitors who settled quicker into their three-at-the-back system.
By contrast, Everton’s differing wing-backs – England under-20 World Cup winner Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the experienced Leighton Baines – took time to understand their role.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman steps out of the tunnel at Goodison Park ahead of their Premier League opener
Everton new boy Michael Keane sets his stall out early as he puts in a tackle on Stoke defender Erik Pieters
Stoke playmaker Joe Allen shifts the ball away from Morgan Schneiderlin during a glorious day on Merseyside
Allen puts pressure on Rooney as the former Manchester United captain looks to control a difficult ball
Stoke boss Mark Hughes gestures from the sideline after Bojan Krkic is brought down during a heavy challenge
Leighton Baines, who was honoured for his 10 years of service before the game, tugs back Xherdan Shaqiri
Gueye unleashes a shot as Saido Berahino attempts to block but the ball fizzes wide and the deadlock is not broken
It said everything about a dull opening 45 minutes that the only shot on target came from the tireless but technically-limited Idrissa Gueye.
But as the tannoy announced ‘One extra minute’, it all changed.
Credit should go to Rooney’s strike partner Sandro who showed quick feet to outfox a couple of markers and roll the ball to Calvert-Lewin in space down the right.
The youngster’s arced cross to the penalty area was good and the finish from Rooney was even better.
Even though there will be an inquest into why no Stoke player was marking him, Rooney got tremendous lift from his jump and made good contact with the ball to give Butland no chance.
You could see the delight on his face after a largely frustrating first half in which his most notable contribution was tripping Bojan and then accidentally kicking the ball into him while the Spaniard was still on the ground.
But Rooney was the man to open the scoring for Everton this season after his burst into the box with a terrific run
He sends his header back across goal leaving Butland helpless before he ran off in celebration at Goodison Park
Rooney’s team-mates congratulate him as he opens his Everton account for the second time with a glorious header
Hughes tells his team to calm down and regroup after Everton take the lead but his side went into the break 1-0 down
Despite making the breakthrough, Koeman spotted Everton’s formation wasn’t working and sent on specialist right-back Martina for Ashley Williams as he switched to a regular back-four with round pegs in red holes.
Everton generally looked more coherent in the second half. Rooney sent Calvert-Lewin clear with a pass that looked like an assist until Zouma made a perfect sliding challenge to deny the striker.
Calvert-Lewin then left Zouma in a heap with a strong tackle before being denied by Butland with a firm shot to the near post.
Hughes will have been disappointed with his lack of attacking fluency. Shaqiri caused Phil Jagielka one or two problems with his close control but they led to nothing. Bojan didn’t seem the same after receiving a heavy challenge by Michael Keane and was replaced by Peter Crouch, booed on arrival because of his past Liverpool connections.
Stoke had one glorious chance to level in injury-time when Shaqiri’s 25-yard shot was brilliantly tipped away by Pickford, the first shot on target the £30million goalkeeper had needed to make.
Everton lost only twice in the Premier League at Goodison last season and on this evidence it could be a fortress for them again.
Cuco Martina, who replaced Ashley Williams at half time, fends off the advances of defender Geoff Cameron
Rooney and Allen don’t hold back as the pair go full-blooded into a tackle but the Everton man comes away with the ball
Stoke’s new signing Darren Fletcher attempts to rally his troops as they bid for an equaliser at Goodison Park
Kurt Zouma, on loan from Chelsea, slides in to dispossess Dominic Calvert-Lewin as the striker pulls the trigger on a shot
Jordan Pickford makes himself big as he smothers a shot from close range from Peter Crouch late on in the game