Wayne Rooney says that playing in midfield lifted his confidence to help win the Premier League

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has stated that he is playing better because of his time spent playing in the midfield, and that the club can win the Premier League title this season.

The English skipper said that for the last two seasons he questioned whether United could challenge Manchester City and Chelsea for the title. With manager Louis van Gaal starting his second season with the club, the United striker now feels there is a title charge in the team. After a fourth place finish last season, Rooney is hopeful for the new year. The former Evertonian said:

“We could see that we were getting better gradually. We just needed that consistency in our performances and then, obviously, in results.

“But we could see in each game we were getting better. I feel this season for the first time, rather than the last two seasons, we’re ready to challenge again.”

This summer, United have spent big to bolster the team again. The Red Devils have signed five players thus far and could be looking to sign more after the exits of Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie, Angel di Maria and the probable exit of Mexican striker Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. The additions of Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Memphis Depay and the looming signing of Barcelona’s Pedro have all been interpreted as positive signings. Romero could be a potential replacement for David de Gea, Darmian could play as a more natural right-back compared to Antonio Valencia, Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger are filling a long-time hole left after the retirement of Paul Scholes and Depay is adding flare to the attacking line. Pedro would be a replacement for Di Maria who looks set to sign with Paris-Saint Germain after a poor debut season in the Premier League. With these new signings, Rooney is excited for the club’s title charge. He said:

“I’m as hungry to do things and win things as I was when I was a young boy.

“If I wasn’t ambitious about winning things, I might as well quit now.

“You go into it a season at a time. I joined Manchester United to win trophies and I have done that.

“But you want to keep winning as long as you are playing. That is something that Alex Ferguson drilled into every player.”

Rooney said that he plans to be the kind of captain who allows his teammates to speak-up in the dressing room. He appears to want to be a captain who leads by example, and wants others to step-up in a team effort. It is his first season with the armband and he has to be impressive because all eyes are on him and his performances. Rooney addressed the topic of the captaincy by saying:

“I was always quite vocal and the good thing about those players was that they weren’t captains who said their piece and that was it.

“You always had your own voice which you could say back to them with your ideas as well.

“That was something I learned from and I’ve just tried to pick up things which I feel have been right for me and then do it my own way.”

This season, Rooney will play up top where he is most comfortable. In the past few seasons, Rooney had to drop back into the midfield to fill gaps, but this season he will play where he is best-suited. However, Rooney does think that it was beneficial to his career and that playing in the deeper role assisted his understanding of the game, and help him become an all-around footballer. He told ESPN:

“When I was younger, I was a bit more off the cuff in terms of how I played the game.

“I think now I can read the game a lot better, my understanding of the game is, I feel, a lot better.

“With playing in many different positions, I feel the understanding of my teammates, when they’re in those positions, is better. I think I can read the game more and I feel like that can really benefit me.”

Rooney will be playing a major role in goal-scoring for United this season if he is to play in a number nine position up top. If United sign a striker before the end of the transfer window he could play beneath the centre-forward. Rooney’s versatility will play into the hands of Van Gaal and a successful season is expected of the striker.


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