Everton’s new recruit Theo Walcott has revealed that Wayne Rooney played a significant role in luring him to Goodison Park this month. The England international had the option of re-joining ex-club Southampton from Arsenal, but the project at Everton was too good to refuse for the 28-year-old forward.

Speaking to Everton TV, he said: “I had numerous chats with Wayne and that was one massive factor which really tempted me to come to Everton. He told me it was a great place to play football and a club that is on the up. Those are the reasons I came here. This is a club with great history. The fans are brilliant, they are always passionate… and I used to find it very tough playing here. You want to be part of something and Wayne feels Everton are really going to improve.”

Walcott had been restricted to just around 60 minutes of league action during the first half of the season with Arsenal, and he has already surpassed his playing time at Everton, for whom he contributed an assist in the recent 1-1 draw versus West Bromwich Albion. The attacker notched 19 goals during a successful run in the Gunners first-team last term, and he will hope to make a similar impact with the Toffees in the next few months in order to make a late push for Gareth Southgate’s squad at the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Everton put an end to a four-match winless run across all competitions with the draw, but they now face a potentially tricky period in the Premier League with games against Leicester City, Crystal Palace and Arsenal all in the month of February. The Merseyside outfit are currently placed ninth in the league standings with 28 points, six points ahead of Southampton, who are occupying the first of the relegation spots.