Rooney de­tects re­turn of ‘old’ United

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — Wayne Rooney pre­dicts that the “old Manch­ester United” will be on show again this sea­son un­der Jose Mour­inho.

New boss Mour­inho has be­gun a recruitment drive that has brought de­fender Eric Bailly, striker Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic and midfielder Hen­rikh Mkhi­taryan to Old Traf­ford.

“We’re in a very good spot now, we think we can chal­lenge for the Premier League,” said 30-year-old Rooney.

“I think the play­ers feel this is more like the old Manch­ester United.”

In an in­ter­view with the Daily Mail, he added that the new sign­ings would com­ple­ment a squad that fea­tured the tal­ents of ris­ing stars like An­thony Mar­tial and Mar­cus Rash­ford, who “made such an im­pact” last sea­son.

Rooney also praised the “great work ethic” of Ibrahi­movic and said United would be mak­ing a “big state­ment” if they man­aged to cap­ture Ju­ven­tus midfielder Paul Pogba.

United, FA Cup win­ners in Louis Van Gaal’s last game in May, kick off the new do­mes­tic sea­son against Premier League cham­pi­ons Leicester in next week­end’s Com­mu­nity Shield at Wem­b­ley.

Rooney ad­mits United “want to put a marker down” in that match.

“I know it’s a one-off game, but we want to show we can win a tro­phy early on,” he said. “We feel that’s an im­por­tant event for us.”

He also re­flected on Eng­land’s des­per­ate dis­play at Euro 2016.Beaten in the last 16 by Iceland, Rooney crit­i­cised man­ager Roy Hodg­son’s de­ci­sion to make a raft of changes for their fi­nal group game with Slo- vakia.

“No, I wouldn’t have rested six play­ers... it’s more than half the team,” said Rooney. “It was a gam­ble and it didn’t pay off.”

The Eng­land skipper was one of the six shuf­fled out of the side af­ter a last-gasp win over Wales and was un­able to make an im­pact when he fi­nally came on.

“It was dif­fi­cult to change the game, im­pos­si­ble re­ally,” he said. “I was run­ning around just try­ing to get the en­ergy back into the team.

“It was Roy’s de­ci­sion to make those changes against Slo­vakia and, ei­ther way, the team he put out should have been able to win.”

Hodg­son quit straight af­ter the loss to Iceland, leav­ing Rooney, Eng­land’s record goalscorer with 53, to re­flect on what might have been.

“I felt we had a good squad, a lot of abil­ity, a lot of tal­ent,” he said. “To then go out as we did, and against Iceland, was be­yond dis­ap­point­ing.

“We had lost mo­men­tum from the Slo­vakia game and tour­na­ment football is about con­fi­dence. You get that from win­ning.”

— BBC

JOSE Mour­inho has said he will play Wayne Rooney in at­tack de­spite his switch to mid­field un­der Louis Van Gaal.

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