In an interview that was aired on Sky Sports Wayne Rooney sat down with Class of 92 graduate and former Reds skipper Gary Neville to discuss a number of subjects. Starting with his thoughts on his position in the team before season started, his chances of being named captain, his relationship with Louis Van Gaal, the team talks he’s given throughout the season, penalties and how far away are United from that 21st League title.
Neville started by asking Rooney if he felt he may be the fall guy at the start of the season, given Van Persie’s perceived relationship with Van Gaal and the arrival of Falcao on the final day of the transfer window.
Rooney responded by saying that he never felt that, saying he is always confident in his own abilities as a player. He says he always believes that if he works hard and trains in the right way, that this would make it difficult for the manager to drop him. He felt he had an advantage with doing the full pre-season with the manager and the team. Feeling that the manager liked what he had seen of him and stuck with him and chose him as the captain. Rooney says he always knew he had a chance of being named the captain, as it was a fairly inexperience squad, with only a few of the players having been at United for a time.
Neville asked Rooney if Van Gaal involves him a lot as captain and what’s your relationship like with the manager.
Rooney says we have a good relationship and he asks my opinion a lot, there are things he is in full control of and there are certain times when he asks for my opinion. There may be times when I go to the team and ask for their opinion and then go back to the manager. He listens to what I say and what the team as a whole may feel. Rooney says if he can change to help the players then he will although if he doesn’t think it will help the players then he’ll stick by his decision.
Neville asks Rooney about his pre-match speeches and has he done many and whether the manager was present for them.
Rooney says he’s done a few throughout the season, saying that a few of the players spoke about the one before the Liverpool game at Anfield. Rooney says the speech was actually made the week before, prior to the Tottenham game. Stating we had just been knocked out of the Fa Cup and only aim for the rest of the season was to finish as high as possible in the League, had crucial games against Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City. He says he told the players the football club we are playing for and the standards you need to set when playing for Manchester United and we have to reach our goal from now until the end of the season. He says the manger wasn’t present because he felt it would’ve have been easier for players to speak up without any of the staff there.
Neville enquiries about penalty takers as Manchester United have missed a few of late.
Rooney says he was asked in pre-season to take them and says Van Gaal has a structure where if you miss one you go to the back of the queue. When Robin missed against West Brom, he says he was fifth choice after Robin, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Ashley Young. Because Robin missed he’s at number five now. In the first game of the season against Swansea, Chicharito was number one with Phil Jones number two and Rooney had missed in pre-season game against Valencia. Chicharito went off at half-time and Jones said to me if we get one I can’t take it. Rooney says the manager says if you’re going to take them in training then make sure you have the bottle to take them in matches, so a few defenders have dropped out of taking them in training.
Asked by Neville if he believes United are close to winning the title again.
Rooney says I believe we are, if you look at the first ten games, we had 13 points. He says if you consider that and then where we finished, we’ve probably got as many points as anyone else in the remaining games. So I think we’re close. If you look at the game, we’re outplaying teams, dominating possession we’ve just got to start taking our chances. If you look at the Chelsea game, Rooney says if he took his chance early in the game, it would have been a completely different game. I’m sure a player or two in the summer and we’ll have a good chance of going for the title. Rooney says Van Gaal knows what he’s doing and the players understand the way he wants us to play and that’s the most important thing for us.
The Full Interview Can Be Read Here
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