Wayne Rooney is proving invaluable to Everton on and off the pitch due to the experience he provides to the club's youngsters, says boss Ronald Koeman.
Everton won their opening four matches in all competitions this campaign, before following up with draws at Manchester City and Hadjuk Split - the latter securing a place in the Europa League group stages courtesy of a 3-1 aggregate play-off victory.
Rooney has scored twice since returning from boyhood club Manchester United and will focus solely on his club commitments having retired from England duty as his country's record goalscorer this week.
And Koeman, who backed Rooney's decision to stop playing international football, is impressed by the wisdom he is imparting on Everton's young talent.
"[Rooney] is really vital, from the beginning," he told a pre-match news conference ahead Sunday's Premier League trip to Chelsea. "On the pitch, but also off the pitch, he is really important.
"He is teaching young players. [On Thursday, against Hajduk], before the game and at half-time, he was the player that you like to have as manager.
"He has experience and most of the players need that experience. They can learn a lot from Wayne in that situation."
On Rooney's international retirement, he added: "He will be more fresh, he gets some days off next week.
"He's playing a lot, but I think he needs regular game time to be at his best.
"I respect his decision to stop for the national team. It's good for Everton."
Fellow new boy Gylfi Sigurdsson announced himself to the Everton faithful with a stunning long-range equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Hadjuk on Thursday, and Koeman is not surprised to see the Icelander linking up with Rooney already.
"In football, good, clever football players understand so quick," he added. "Football is about cleverness and I think these two players are really clever.
"They understand the role, they understand the situation. Wayne showed it in several games already this season and Gylfi is that type of player."