England and Manchester United captain, Wayne Rooney is confident that Jose Mourinho to bring back the glory days of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United — and believes the club can challenge for the Premier League title this season.
Having enjoyed success with United since 2004, the England captain only managed to win one trophy — the FA Cup this year — under the guidance of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal in the past three seasons.
After Van Gaal’s departure, the club have brought in former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, along with a handful of star signings like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Rooney, 30, worked with Ferguson during the club’s trophy-laden days and sees a semblance of his former boss in Mourinho, and reckons the Portuguese tactician will bring back the “old Manchester United.”
“I was in a dressing room with Gary Neville and Roy Keane. I was 19 [and] having rows with Gary, even with Alex Ferguson. That’s how it should be,” he told the Daily Mail.
“Sir Alex was really clever like that. He knew who he could have a go at, who it was best to leave alone. He always knew it brought the best out of me. It wouldn’t work with Nani.
“I’ve seen that in him [Mourinho] already. The way he speaks to individuals, the way he talks to the group, the way he makes players feel so confident.
“I’ve heard him talk to players, and you know that player will now be feeling on top of the world. He’s done it with me, he’s done it with all of us — that is one of his qualities.
“You know he will leave messages for you with the press — messages for other managers — he’s very clever with his words.”
Having been moved into various midfield roles for club and country in the past few seasons, Rooney revealed that Mourinho will be using him as a strike partner for Ibrahimovic, a role he is relishing.
“I’d known for a long time I could play midfield if I had to, and the way United were playing as a team at the time it was the role I most enjoyed,” he added.
“But Jose has come in, he has seen me play in another position for 10 years scoring goals, and that’s what he wants me to do. It’s not as if it’s a new position for me. I wasn’t apprehensive at all. I was excited.
“This is one of the best coaches in the world and, sure, I’ve got to impress him. But I’ve always felt I’ve got to impress every manager and you should be able to play different positions.
“No one spotted this, but during the tournament with England, sometimes in training I’d play the role of the opposition centre half alongside John Stones.”
As for United’s plethora of attacking options for the new campaign, Rooney is confident they have enough firepower, especially with former Paris Saint-Germain man Ibrahimovic’s arrival.
Rooney said: “He’s one of the best strikers, and a big personality. You can see he wants to be a really important player for us.
“After training he is already talking about how we can get the best out of each other, you can see he’s got this great work ethic.
“I think the players feel this is more like the old Manchester United. It’s not just the new signings, we’ve got Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford from last season who made such an impact.
“We’re in a very good spot now, we think we can challenge for the Premier League, and we want to put a marker down, in the Community Shield with Leicester [City].
“I know it’s a one-off game, but we want to show we can win a trophy early on — we feel that’s an important event for us.”