Koeman: Wayne Rooney substitution was purely tactical

Koeman: Wayne Rooney substitution was purely tactical

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has stated his decision to substitute Wayne Rooney was a tactical decision and not because of a bloodied blow to the face.

Rooney was caught by Bournemouth’s Simon Francis in the penalty area after an aerial challenge in the first half, which caused blood to drip down the 31-year-old’s face. The former England captain needed to be treated twice and protested to referee Martin Atkinson, claiming for a penalty, but ultimately did not punish Francis.

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Koeman then substituted Rooney 10 minutes after half-time as Bournemouth led through Joshua King’s goal, replacing him with Oumar Niasse. The Senegalese then went on to score twice to initiate Everton’s 2-1 comeback win, upping his goalscoring tally to three goals in two games as he continued his streak after scoring against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup in midweek.

Niasse scored the equaliser from a pass by fellow substitute Tom Davies before nailing home the winner from close range.

The Dutch manager quelled worries that Rooney’s injury was more serious, stressing that the change was purely tactical.

“We knew it would be difficult for the second half,” said Koeman. “It cost time in the first half but I had to change him. Hopefully he will be OK for the next game.”

Niasse’s double ended the Toffees’ miserable run of three straight league defeats in a row to lift them out of the bottom three and into 13th. Both Everton and manager had come under criticism for their poor form after heavy defeats to Manchester United and Chelsea as well as a disappointing Europa League display away to Atalanta.

Bournemouth’s Jermain had the opportunity to make it 2-0 soon after King’s opening goal, but had his shot saved by Everton keeper Jordan Pickford. The Cherries now languish at 19th in the table, one point from safety.