Rooney detects return of ‘old’ United
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.”
JOSE Mourinho has said he will play Wayne Rooney in attack despite his switch to midfield under Louis Van Gaal.