Double Agents: Five players who featured for Man United and Everton

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As old foes face off in Sunday’s clash between the North West’s two great cities, we look at the men who’ve worn the royal blue of Everton and the iconic red of Manchester United.

From iconic wing wizards to imposing midfielders and beyond, we give our verdict on five players who starred at Goodison Park and Old Trafford, and which set of fans saw the best of them.

Marouane Fellaini – (Everton: 2008-13 / Manchester United: 2013-present)

An imposing and effective physical presence in David Moyes’ Everton side, Fellaini was lured to Manchester United by the ex-Toffees boss but has failed to recapture the form which saw the Guardian vote him in at number 60 on their 2012 list of ‘The 100 Best Footballers in the World’.

Fellaini also came in handy as an auxiliary striker in his last full season with Everton, netting an incredible 12 goals in the 2012-13 campaign. His United tenure has been far less successful, both in terms of goals and his link-up play. Don’t be surprised if the Belgian international moves on from Old Trafford in the summer.

  • Everton Rating: 8/10 – Man United Rating: 3/10

Andrei Kanchelskis – (Manchester United: 1991-1995 / Everton 1995-97)

While Eric Cantona gets much of the praise for catapulting United to their first league title in 26 years in 1993, wing wizard Kanchelskis was another integral figure in the Reds title triumph. He scored crucial goals in victories over Norwich City, QPR, and the previous season’s champions Leeds United, before spending two more similarly impressive years with the Manchester club.

In 1995 Kanchelskis made the switch to Merseyside, becoming a cult hero with the Everton faithful after scoring twice against Liverpool at Anfield in a 2-1 win. He impressed during 18 months with the club before his shock sale to Fiorentina in January 1997, cutting short what could have been a great Toffees career.

Everton Rating: 8/10 – Man United Rating: 9/10

Tim Howard – (Manchester United: 2003-06 / Everton: 2006-07 [Loan], 2007-Present)

Sir Alex Ferguson snapped up Tim Howard from MLS side MetroStars in 2003, looking to the young American ‘keeper to finally fill the enormous gloves of Peter Schmeichel.

However, despite showing himself to be an impressive shot-stopper and keeping a momentous 17 clean sheets in his first season, the young Howard seemed to lose confidence after a few mistakes and didn’t get his mojo back until joining Everton.

With nearly a decade under his belt with the Toffees, Howard has established himself as one of the league’s most reliable performers and enhanced his reputation for making stunning saves. Howard announced he’s heading back to MLS to join Colorado Rapids in July with his career in its twilight years, but told the media “I will remain an Evertonian for life”. Lovely stuff.

Everton Rating: 9/10 – Man United Rating: 6/10

Wayne Rooney – (Everton: 2002-04 / Manchester United: 2004-Present)

When he scored in an FA Youth Cup final for Everton, Wayne Rooney lifted his shirt to reveal a t-shirt with the words ‘once a blue, always a blue’. And the teenager’s exciting breakthrough into the first team meant the Goodison faithful prayed he would make good on that promise.

But after two often scintillating – if inconsistent – seasons with the club, including the sensational strike against Arsenal which made him the Premier League’s (then) youngest ever scorer, He departed for Manchester United in summer 2004, much to the dismay of Toffees fans, though a return to his boyhood club does look possible.

While Rooney’s best days may now be behind him, his record of 244 goals in 511 Manchester United games is extremely impressive, as is his haul of five Premier League titles, a Champions League winner’s medal, and two League Cup triumphs. Oh, and there was that overhead kick against Manchester City.

Everton Rating: 8/10 – Man United Rating: 8/10

Philip Neville – (Manchester United: 1995-2005 / Everton: 2005-2013)

An unspectacular player who made the most of his ability, Neville was as committed to hard work as he was to the bleached-blonde highlights which remained through his whole career.

After several seasons as understudy to Denis Irwin at Manchester United, the Bury-born left-back gradually established himself in the first-team, eventually amassing 11 major trophies and netting a crucial strike at Middlesbrough in 2001 to help guide United to a third successive Premier League title.

At Everton, Neville was converted into a central midfielder by David Moyes, and was eminently reliable – if unspectacular – during a reasonably successful period for the club. He even scored a penalty against Manchester United to guide the Toffees into the 2009 FA Cup Final. We imagine Gary hasn’t forgiven him since.

Everton Rating: 7/10 – Man United Rating: 7/10

Final Score: Everton 2-1 Manchester United (with two draws)

It’s the narrowest of victories for the Toffees in this one, but how will Roberto Martinez’s men fare in Sunday’s game? Everton are 14/5 to win at Old Trafford, with a United win Evens and 23/10 for a draw.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Dave Burin

Dave graduated with an MA in English Literature at Durham University, and worked in marketing before joining the Ladbrokes News team. A Man United fan and avid groundhopper, he’s also an ardent follower of Rugby League. You can usually find him at a ground near you, clutching a big cup of tea.