Everton boss Sam Allardyce will sit down with Wayne Rooney this week to discuss the striker’s furious reaction to being substituted during the Merseyside derby.
Former England skipper Rooney was less than impressed when Allardyce chose to replace him with Idrissa Gueye 57 minutes into Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool at Goodison Park and made his feelings abundantly clear as he left the pitch.
However, Allardyce played down the 32-year-old’s response, which he put down to his passion for the club.
The manager told talkSPORT: “Wayne’s disappointment was frustration at the fact of being an Evertonian though and though – he’s been an Evertonian all his life, he made his debut for Everton when he was 16, he was playing in a great big derby match against Liverpool on his own park and he got substituted by the manager.
“That was too much for him to take and he had to show his frustration. We’ll sit down in the next week and we’ll talk it through and we’ll see how he feels. I’m sure he’s calmed down a little bit now.
“The most important thing for me on the day was how could I improve the team, which was in my opinion and the coaches’, having to defend that little bit too much, and we had to make these changes.
“We didn’t make just one with Wayne, we made three very quickly and in the end, we finished the game stronger than Liverpool and nearly won it.
“That, as a manager, is what you have to do. No matter who is on the field, if you change them, you look at the game from there on and if you think you can give them a better opportunity to win it, then that’s what you have to do.
“The player will, at times, show frustration.”
Asked if Rooney still had a future at Everton, Allardyce said: “Oh yes, there’s no doubt about that.
“The situation is it’s his first season, it’s been difficult for everybody. We have to get that stability back, which I think we are slowly but surely doing, and then we have to look at what this summer will bring and what next season will bring.”
England boss Gareth Southgate was among the crowd at Goodison and saw keeper Jordan Pickford make a series of important saves to stake his claim for the number one spot at this summer’s World Cup finals.
Allardyce said: “Gareth was there on Saturday and he saw a couple of saves that will have put in his mind that this lad is really good.
“There were two very, very important saves in the first half he made, one from Danny Ings and one from James Milner, and that just showed Gareth again his consistency.
“This season, he has probably been the most consistent England goalkeeper in the Premier League by far and he deserves it, from my point of view.”
Allardyce’s critics have grown in volume in recent weeks, but he insisted he is enjoying his job.
He said: “If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t have come back in the first place.”