BARROW AFC boss Ian Evatt has completed a third signing as the squad return for pre-season training proper this morning.

The Bluebirds have brought in former Chester, Wrexham and Guiseley midfielder John Rooney on a one-year deal.

Rooney, the younger brother of ex-Manchester United, Everton and England striker Wayne, has made 171 appearances in the National League over the past five seasons, scoring 41 goals.

Evatt, who last week completed deals for striker Jacob Blyth and attacking midfielder Josh Kay, is hoping he can bring that goal-scoring threat to Holker Street and add quality to the centre of the park.

“He's scored one in four at this level and he's proven,” said Evatt, who had the squad in for their first day of pre-season training today, having put them through fitness tests on Thursday. “He's only 27 and he's a proven goal-scorer from midfield at this level.

“It's important that we fill the squad with goals and with quality.”

Rooney was part of the Everton set-up at a very young age, before spending eight years at Macclesfield Town, both in their youth and and senior set-ups.

He made his Football League debut for the Silkmen as a 17-year-old in 2008, and went on to make 46 appearances for the club before a move to Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls in 2011 and to Orlando City a year later.

Among Rooney's team-mates at the Red Bulls was former Arsenal, Barcelona and France striker Thierry Henry.

The 27-year-old returned to England with Barnsley in 2012, but did not make a first-team appearance, and went on to Bury before starting his long stay with Chester.

Evatt sees the experienced Conference player – who has featured against Barrow many times over the past three seasons in the Conference – as a good asset for the Bluebirds.

He said: “It comes down to him being the right person for us. He's a good age at 27, he's got more than enough experience at this level, and he has scored that one in four, one in five throughout his career over five years.

“It's important that we bring that kind of experience into the team. The way I want to play, he's an attacking midfielder who can create and score goals and he's got a great character – it's important that we fill the club with the right sort of people, the right sort of characters moving forward. They will set the example of how to train, how to be professional, and we will move forward from there.”