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  1. ITV Report

Could Everton get Rooney for free?

Rooney appears to be on the way out of Old Trafford. Photo: Martin Rickett

Wayne Rooney's representative has reportedly held talks with Everton over a proposed return to Goodison Park from Manchester United on a free transfer.

The 31-year-old has not been included in United's squad for their pre-season tour of the United States, according to reports, with the party due to leave on Sunday.

The development comes after months of speculation over the former England captain's future.

His 2016-17 campaign was largely a frustrating one. The forward started just 15 Premier League games under United boss Jose Mourinho and lost his place in the England side.

The notable bright spot came when he overtook Sir Bobby Charlton's club goalscoring record in January, an achievement that came just over a year after he also claimed the England record.

However, he failed a hold down a role in Mourinho's team and was heavily linked with moves to China and the United States, as well as a return to Everton.

It is the latter option that appears to have proved the most appealing, having never lost touch with his roots.

Rooney burst onto the scene as a precocious teenager with the Toffees. He made his debut at the age of 16 at the start of the 2002-03 season and was picked for England within months.

He went on to excel at Euro 2004 and was snapped up by United soon after, moving to Old Trafford as an 18-year-old in a £27million deal.

In the years since, he has been one of the club's most influential players, winning five Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008. If a transfer goes through, he will leave with 253 United goals to his name.

Rooney is contracted to the Red Devils until 2019 but it has been reported that he could be granted an early release, to return to his former club on a free transfer.

His departure would follow that of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at United. It has been reported the club are pursuing Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata as a replacement.

Rooney would also be Everton's fifth major signing of what is shaping up to be a busy summer for the Merseysiders. Deals for Michael Keane, Davy Klaassen, Sandro Ramirez and Jordan Pickford have already been completed, with Olivier Giroud and Gylfi Sigurdsson also linked. His arrival might also allow Romelu Lukaku to move on.