Rooney describes goal against Stoke as a 'special moment'

Wayne Rooney of England talks to the media during a Press Conference at the Grove Hotel

"Clearly Wayne Rooney has the ability to fill that space", said Hughes, who had a brief spell at Goodison Park towards the end of his playing career.

"Even at 1-0 up I chose to change it after 45 minutes to hopefully make us a little more comfortable with four defenders". The early games in the season are always tough because you are always finding your rhythm in games.

Koeman said: "We know it is a tough start but it is all about, in 38 games, getting the points".

The decorated forward's goal was the only moment of note in a boring opening period.

Idrissa Gueye and Everton's No.10 exchanged passes 30 yards out, and then eventually found the otherwise quiet Sandro who slid the ball to striker-turned-right-wing full-back Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Everton will grind out a hard-fought win in this one. There was much more control and we scored a great goal but the team looked a bit nervous in the first half.

Everton face a hard start to the season, with the visit of Stoke followed by games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and United.

His goal obviously arrived courtesy of a run from deep but Everton need to play with more of a genuine threat in the final third, given Sandro Ramirez is the only other attacking option. "But we got the three points and that is really important".

Koeman clearly no longer considers returning star Wayne Rooney as an out and out striker and, rather, the Dutchman is looking for a collective effort to replace Lukaku's prodigious output. While he can also play on the flanks when required by his manager, he has shown that he is the most effective when deployed as a central forward.

The 24-year-old was in the wars during the game after receiving a head blow, but looked like a real leader for the hosts as they hung on at the end to secure victory.

Everton midfielder James McCarthy will miss out the Premier League opener against Stoke City as he continues his recovery from a knee injury.

"Maybe a little bit more nervous than normally they are and also the way Stoke play, defending-wise they make it hard".

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