Manchester United head to Goodison Park this weekend hoping to build on their impressive 4-1 EFL Cup victory over West Ham United midweek. The Reds – who occupy sixth place in the league table – take on an Everton side who have fallen off the pace since their good start to the campaign. As it happens, both sides are in abysmal league form going into this one. United, incredibly, have won just one of their last seven league games, the 3-1 victory over Swansea City before the international break.
Similarly, Ronald Koeman’s men have won one of their last eight league games, the 2-0 win over struggling West Ham back in October. It’s a stark contrast to their early season form as the Toffees won four and drew one of their opening five league matches.
Let’s take a look at some of the players who have represented both sides, starting with the most obvious of the bunch, United skipper Wayne Rooney.
It seems like an age since Wayne Rooney burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old with his winning goal against Arsenal, that’s because it is. It’s over 14 years since the United skipper made his debut for his boyhood club in 2002. He spent two years on Merseyside before joining the Reds in 2004. He is just one goal shy of equaling Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time goal-scoring record of 249 yet the Englishman still divides opinion among the Old Trafford faithful. He seems to have found some form of late and has put in some decent performances however Jose Mourinho will be without the 31-year-old this weekend as Rooney picked up his fifth yellow card of the season against West Ham on Wednesday night in the EFL Cup.
Fellaini started out in his native Belgium with Standard Liege before moving to Everton in 2008 for an initial £15m, a record at the time for a Belgian player as well as Everton’s record signing (now Romelu Lukaku). He hit 33 goals in all competitions for the Toffees during five full seasons at the club before being reunited with former Everton manager and new Manchester United boss David Moyes in 2013. This is Fellaini’s fourth season at Old Trafford and his next appearance for the Reds will be his 100th in all competitions.
Cleverley grew up in Bradford but joined the Reds youth academy as an 11-year-old. He enjoyed loan spells away from Old Trafford – Leicester City, Watford and Wigan Athletic – before bursting into the first team under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2011. He spent three seasons with the first team and was a part of the 2012/13 Premier League-winning side before he was sent on loan to Aston Villa by new manager Louis van Gaal in 2014. He wouldn’t play for the Reds again and was sold to Everton a year later.
Arguably the Premier League’s greatest American export, Howard spent almost 13 years in England. He joined the Reds in 2003 as the direct replacement for Frenchman Fabien Barthez. He was the first choice during his first season at Old Trafford as United won the FA Cup in 2004. He jostled for the number one jersey with Roy Carroll in the season that followed, however, took a backseat when United signed Edwin van der Sar in 2005. Howard joined the Toffees on loan during the 2006/07 season and made the permanent switch a year later. He spent ten seasons as Everton’s first-choice keeper before moving back to America with Colorado Rapids earlier this year.
In two separate stints at Old Trafford, ‘Sparky’ made over 450 appearances for the Reds, scoring over 150 times. He was and is a club legend, he won every domestic trophy for the Reds including two league titles (1992/93 & 1993/94). However to say Hughes’ time at Goodison Park was underwhelming would be an understatement. He joined Everton via spells at Chelsea and then Southampton but featured just 19 times in all competitions across two seasons, scoring the solitary goal.