Manchester United and Everton played out a goalless draw in Wayne Rooney’s testimonial match as Old Trafford paid tribute to the captain’s 12 trophy-laden years at the club.
Rooney, who was afforded a guard of honour as he entered the pitch with his three sons before kick-off, played 50 minutes of an encounter from which all proceeds will be distributed through his foundation to his four chosen charity partners.
With Jose Mourinho treating this game like a normal pre-season friendly, a fact borne out by his strong team selection, it was played at a higher tempo than might otherwise have been expected for a testimonial, with players on both sides more than happy to fly into tackles.
Skipper Rooney began the evening against his former club in the no.10 role behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic and was heartily encouraged by the Old Trafford crowd almost every time he touched the ball.
Midway through the half, a hungry-looking Ibrahimovic had the first chance of the game after being played through by Rooney, but the Swede’s left-footed shot was palmed away by Maarten Stekelenburg, and he was later denied again by the Everton goalkeeper.
The Toffees rarely threatened but David De Gea was called into action to beat away Ross Barkley’s effort and Romelu Lukaku headed inches wide. In between, Luke Shaw came closest to breaking the deadlock when his stinging drive was deflected just past the upright.
Mourinho made six changes at the break and then, as he had indicated before kick-off, brought off Rooney five minutes into the second period to allow the crowd to give the forward a standing ovation; Marcus Rashford came on in his place and took up the striker’s position, with Ibrahimovic dropping into the hole.
By that time, United should have been behind when a wayward header from one of the Reds’ substitutes, Phil Jones, fell to one of Everton’s, Kevin Mirallas, but he could only blast into the side-netting when well placed in the box.
Mourinho made a further four replacements midway through the second period, with Ibrahimovic given almost as rapturous a send-off as Rooney. The wholesale changes took the sting out of the game, though sub Marouane Fellaini and Ramiro Funes Mori went close with headed attempts for their respective sides.
But that was of little concern. This was another good pre-season workout for the Reds and a special evening for a man who will now set his sights on becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer. Next up for United: the curtain-raising Community Shield against champions Leicester City at Wembley on Sunday.
United: De Gea (Romero 64), Valencia (Darmian 64), Bailly (Jones 46), Blind (Mata 64), Shaw (Rojo 46), Carrick (Schneiderlin 46), Herrera (Fellaini 46), Lingard (Young 46), Rooney (Rashford 53), Martial (Mkhitaryan 46), Ibrahimovic (Memphis 64). Sub not used: Johnstone.
Everton: Stekelenburg (Joel 46), Coleman, Baines (Oviedo 65), Funes Mori, Stones, Holgate (Besic 65 (Davies 77)), McCarthy (Gibson 65), Barry (Cleverley 65), Barkley (Lennon 65), Deulofeu (Mirallas 46), Lukaku (Kone 65). Sub not used: Galloway.