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Sam Allardyce watches on as Wayne Rooney hat-trick seals rare Everton win

Just when it was least expected but sorely needed, Wayne Rooney popped up with his first ever hat-trick for Everton, proving that timing, like class, is probably permanent. The 32-year-old even managed to score the third of his goals from his own half with one of the cleanest first-time strikes you will ever see, which must have convinced the watching Sam Allardyce there is life in the old dog yet.

Somewhat belatedly it also appears David Unsworth might be getting the hang of this caretaking business. When Allardyce takes over his seventh Premier League club in the next 48 hours he will do so with Everton five points clear of the relegation positions, Unsworth’s parting gift having been the second win of his eight matches in charge and perhaps even more remarkably the first clean sheet. Everton may not be quite as bad as a week of relentlessly bad publicity has suggested, though of course it is equally possible that West Ham are in even bigger trouble than anyone imagined.

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