Monday, 20 July 2015

Rooney to appear in his Dunc's testimonial

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Provided By: Everton Football Club

Duncan Ferguson has described his feelings of genuine gratitude and personal delight that Wayne Rooney has agreed to appear in his testimonial game against Villarreal on Sunday August 2 at Goodison Park.

The showpiece occasion for one of Everton’s biggest heroes could yet see Big Dunc pulling on the shirt and making one final emotional appearance as a Toffee, and now it will see Rooney pay his own tribute to the man he has always acknowledged as "a big hero of mine".

The England captain and Everton Academy graduate played 67 times and scored 15 goals for the club, and the opportunity to honour both the man and the occasion by playing in Ferguson's testimonial game proved irresistible.

“As a young lad growing up in Croxteth, Duncan Ferguson was a hero of mine, as a young player at the Club he was an inspiration and when I broke into the first team he helped and looked after me," Rooney revealed.

"I cannot think of a better way to thank Dunc for all he did for me than turning out in his fully deserved testimonial match.

"Had he not asked me to play I would have gone and supported him on the day as I am sure most other Evertonians will."

For Ferguson, the gesture by his former team-mate to add his name to the team sheet for what is certain to be a memorable and impassioned afternoon has genuinely touched him and perhaps persuaded him even more to pull on the shirt himself one last time.

“I'm absolutely delighted that the wee man has agreed to play in the game," he said.

"Everybody knows that we go way back. I knew him as a kid, he's a top man and I'm proud as his friend that he's fulfilled the potential we always knew was there.

"Wayne's a world-class player and I'm genuinely thrilled that he will play on the day, just as I'm so grateful to the Club for putting on this game."

The playing of Villarreal has an added dimension, too, with Ferguson having what appeared to be a fair goal controversially disallowed by referee Pierluigi Collina when Everton trailed Villarreal 3-2 on aggregate in the dying moments of a Champions League qualifying game in 2004/05.

Everton's hopes of playing in the group stages were dashed in an instant and Ferguson retired as a player at the end of that season.

Tickets are now on sale for Duncan Ferguson’s Testimonial on Sunday August 2 at Goodison Park against Villarreal, with kick-off at 15.00.

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