The first season back at Goodison Park has not been exactly what Wayne Rooney was hoping for when he rejoined the club from Manchester United, but on Saturday he set an unwanted record as an Everton play as his side secured a 0-2 victory over Huddersfield Town.
That record is that he has been substituted off in 24 games this season, a new record overtaking the likes of Yakubu in 2007/08 and Marcus Bent in 2004/05, the previous leaders on 23 each, as reported by the Liverpool Echo.
It also means that he has completed the full 90 minutes in just 16 games this campaign, representing only 42% of his total appearances.
What’s worse is that he has completed 90 minutes under Sam Allardyce only four times since his appointment at the end of November.
Such a statistic clearly shows that his manager no longer believes that the former England captain has what it takes to decide a game in the closing stages.
There are two key reasons for that. One is that Rooney no longer has such influence, particularly in a deeper midfield role where he finds it more difficult to stand out. Whereas he was once relied upon to produce the moment of magic to create a goal, he no longer has the ability, or at least, not often enough for Allardyce to gamble on him.
The other reason is that his fitness is no longer up to scratch. It may simply be Allardyce’s attempt to extend his career by not forcing him to continue when games have already been decided, but equally his legs cannot compete with the likes of energetic youngsters like Tom Davies when games are coming into the closing stages.
Another manager may take another approach if Allardyce is not in charge next season, but what this surprising fact shows is that Wayne Rooney’s is on his way out.