Vincent Kompany is relishing resuming his respectful rivalry with Wayne Rooney when Manchester City host Everton on Monday.
Kompany and Rooney did battle on either side of the Manchester divide over the past decade but Manchester United’s record goalscorer is now back with his boyhood club.
The 31-year-old enjoyed a dream return to Premier League action at Goodison Park last weekend when he headed the only goal in a 1-0 win over Stoke City.
City captain and centre-back Kompany was a keen observer and felt the goal showed many of the qualities some critics claimed deserted Rooney over a difficult final couple of seasons at Old Trafford remain in full working order.
“I have a lot of respect for Wayne,” he told reporters. “We’ve played so many games against each other.
“I think I’ve played more than 20 times against United in my career and not once was he not part of their team.
“Even the goal he scored for Everton at the weekend against Stoke, the way he recognises that he needs to get in the box, marks him out.
“I don’t think many players could have done that. We can all play the pass he played, maybe even head it like he did too. But to understand that ‘this is the moment I need to go’, to have that timing just like the overhead kick – it’s something that sets him apart.”
— Vincent Kompany (@VincentKompany) August 12, 2017
The overhead kick Kompany refers to is Rooney’s famous and utterly brilliant goal that settled a 2011 Manchester derby in United’s favour – a fact that sill irks the 31-year-old Belgium international.
“I think that goal was kind of a testimony to Wayne’s talent because, in that game, I absolutely had him in my pocket! I played a really strong game,” he recalled.
“But top strikers do things at unbelievable times and then he pulls the overhead kick and I’m thinking ‘Oh, come on!’.”