Wayne Rooney has revealed how his dream of helping boyhood club Everton win their first trophy for more than 20 years came to an end when it gradually became evident that owner Farhad Moshiri did not want to keep him on Merseyside.
Rooney left Manchester United for Everton in July 2017 and United helped to facilitate the deal by paying some of his wages. Rooney played well to begin with but offered to drop back into midfield to help the team and as the season progressed doubts grew about Moshiri's intentions.
'It wasn't easy to leave Man United,' Rooney says, 'but I wasn't playing and that was difficult and Everton was the main reason why I left. I wanted to help them move forward and win the first trophy since 1995. That was always a dream of mine but unfortunately that didn't happen. I was a bit disappointed with the way it ended but that's football.
'It wasn't just about ending my career at Everton. I could see the club were trying to move forward and bring players in and I wanted to be part of that. I felt we were putting foundations down to maybe win that trophy and have a push at the top six.
'What's happened a few times in my career is that I probably needed to be a bit more selfish, which I sometimes find difficult to do. By playing in midfield, I lost my goalscoring threat but the team progressed a bit more and went higher up the table. So maybe if I hadn't done that, I might have scored 20 goals and we would have finished 12th or 13th. That's part of who I am.
'I think it was the owner's decision. He obviously knew he was going to bring a lot of players in and I was still on quite a bit of money at Everton and he wanted to free the money up. I was made aware of interest from DC and I saw an article in the newspaper about it and I started to think: 'What's going on here? Is there something being said?'
'So I went in to see Sam Allardyce and said: 'Listen I'm not a kid. What's going on? Do you want me here or not?' To be fair to Sam he was probably the honest one. He said if he was still there next season I mightn't play as much but he still wanted me to be here and be a big part of things. Then he said: 'But I'm not sure the owner has the same opinion.'
'Trying to get an honest answer out of the owner took three months. I kept trying and trying. All I wanted was clarity. There were some positives: my four children seeing me play for Everton. Even though my youngest two won't remember, we still have the pictures to look back on when they're older of me at Goodison. There was scoring at Anfield for Everton, scoring my first hat-trick for Everton. But I was just left a bit sad.
'It ended badly at 18 when I left the first time. I was a kid and you say things and do things that you don't really understand. But this time, being a bit older and a bit wiser I was only asking for a bit of honesty and that never really seemed to come, except from Sam Allardyce.'