Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has expressed his excitement to work under new boss Jose Mourinho and has stated his eagerness to impress. The 30-year-old came in for his fair share of criticism last term under Louis van Gaal however Rooney has indicated that Mourinho’s arrival will give him added motivation going into the 2016/17 campaign. Rooney netted 15 goals in all competitions last season but finished the campaign playing in a midfield three although Mourinho has already stated that the Englishman will be deployed in a more attacking role going forward. Rooney, speaking to Inside United magazine, said:
“I’m really excited to be working with Jose this season as he’s one of the best managers in the world. And it’s an exciting time for Manchester United.
“I’ve always respected him both as a man and a manager, he’s a nice guy and one of the most successful managers of all time.
“I like to think I’m always motivated as a player but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit more motivated when a new manager comes in. I’m sure all the lads will be happy to be working under Jose and also eager to impress.
“I’ve played against many Mourinho sides over the years and I can’t remember any easy games, so I think that says it all. His teams are always hard to beat, tactically disciplined and, most importantly, successful.
“He’ll bring all these qualities with him and I’m sure he’ll have his own ideas, but one of the biggest assets will be his experience.
“He’s managed a lot of successful teams throughout his career and all that experience will be vital.”
Despite never working together, Mourinho’s admiration of Rooney as a player has been clear for all to see since the Portuguese’s Real Madrid days. In 2010, Rooney was mentioned as a transfer target when Mourinho took charge of the La Liga side while playing down the possibility of signing Rooney, he expressed his interest.
“I would like to coach Rooney but my friend [Sir Alex] Ferguson can rest easy – it is impossible.”
Then came Mourinho’s very public pursuit of the Englishman during his second stint at Chelsea in 2013. Mourinho made the forward Chelsea’s number one transfer target, and at one point their only target.
“He is a player I like very much,” Mourinho said three years ago. “Being fast and direct, I like that, but he’s a Manchester United player.”
The saga eventually ended in February 2014 when Rooney signed a new five-and-a-half-year contract with the Reds. Mourinho will take charge of Manchester United for the first time this weekend in a pre-season friendly away at Championship side Wigan Athletic. While Rooney will be unavailable following a break from the European Championships with England he will be ready for action for the club’s tour of China later this month. The United and England skipper is expected to report to training on Monday 18th July and he can rest assured that, when he does return, his future will be in the hands of a man who has long thought of him as a star.