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Theo Walcott and other players who scored for clubs after lengthy spells away

Theo Walcott and other players who scored for clubs after lengthy spells away
© Reuters
Gareth Bale and Wayne Rooney are among those to have done likewise.

Theo Walcott scored his first goal for Southampton in almost 15 years on Monday, having spent most of the intervening time at Arsenal and Everton.

Here, the PA news agency looks at his goals and some other current players to have got back on the scoresheet at clubs after lengthy spells away.

Theo Walcott

The former England winger rejoined boyhood club Saints on loan from Everton last month and his close-range finish in Monday's 1-1 draw against Wolves came in his fourth appearance since his return. His previous goal for the club came in an FA Cup third-round tie against MK Dons shortly before he moved to Arsenal in January 2006.

Gareth Bale

Bale (right) made the difference for Spurs against Brighton
Bale (right) made the difference for Spurs against Brighton (John Walton/PA)

Tottenham have made a fine start to the season and the return of Bale on loan, seven and a half years after his then world record £85.3million move to Real Madrid, has added to the feelgood factor. He came off the bench to grab the winner against Brighton on November 1, his first goal for the club since a decisive last-minute strike against Sunderland in May 2013.

Wayne Rooney

Rooney was just 18 when he scored the last goal of his first spell at Everton
Rooney was just 18 when he scored the last goal of his first spell at Everton (PA)

There was plenty of romance attached to the return of England and Manchester United record goalscorer Rooney to first club Everton in 2017, not least as he described still sleeping in Toffees pyjamas. He cemented his place in the club's affections with a winner against Stoke in his first Premier League game back. His previous Everton goal came in a 1-1 draw at Leeds in April 2004 – a gap of 4,869 days.

Jay Rodriguez

Rodriguez reopened his Burnley goalscoring account in a cup tie against Sunderland
Rodriguez reopened his Burnley goalscoring account in a cup tie against Sunderland (Nick Potts/PA)

Striker Rodriguez came through the Burnley academy but spent seven years away from the club – an injury-hit spell at Southampton and a stint at West Brom – before rejoining the Clarets in 2019. His first goal back came in a Carabao Cup loss to Sunderland in August last year. His last first time round was a penalty against Crystal Palace, then a Championship fixture, in March 2012.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic

The irrepressible Swedish striker has confounded the doubters throughout his stellar, much-travelled career and his latest spell at AC Milan, where he is fuelling an impressive club revival, is no exception. The 39-year-old rejoined Milan after seven and a half years away in January and almost immediately hit the ground running, netting in a win at Cagliari in his second appearance. He had signed off in his previous spell with a double in a derby loss to Inter in May 2012.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester UnitedMan Utd19124336251140
2Manchester CityMan City18115231131838
3Leicester CityLeicester19122535211438
4Liverpool1997337221534
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs1896333171633
6Everton1710252821732
7West Ham UnitedWest Ham199552722532
8Aston Villa1792631181329
9Chelsea1985633231029
10Southampton188552621529
11Arsenal198382319427
12Leeds UnitedLeeds187293034-423
13Crystal Palace196582233-1123
14Wolverhampton WanderersWolves196492129-822
15Burnley185491022-1219
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle1954101832-1419
17Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton193882229-717
18Fulham1826101527-1212
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom1925121543-2811
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd1912161032-225

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