Thursday 27 October 2016

Wayne Rooney says Jose Mourinho makes Man United players 'feel on top of the world'

Published 01/08/2016 | 14:54

Manchester United's striker Wayne Rooney
Manchester United's striker Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney has said Manchester United are already starting to feel like the United side of old in the first few weeks of Jose Mourinho’s tenure.

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Despite not having played a competitive fixture under the new manager, Rooney believes Mourinho has a way to bring out the best in his players to turn United into one of the leading sides in the Premier League – and then Europe again – in the coming seasons.

Rooney has already been impressed by Mourinho’s training sessions but has equally been just as impressed with his man-management skills.

“The way he (Mourinho) speaks to individuals, the way he talks to the group, the way he makes players feel so confident,” Rooney said in an interview with the Daily Mail.

“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.”

Mourinho went to speak to Rooney before Euro 2016 and left the England captain reassured in the direction the former Chelsea manager wants United to be heading.

Rooney said he "came away very happy" after his chat with Mourinho and explained the Portuguese's wish of wanting to see United players play with freedom again with "a lot of rotation in the forward positions" and Rooney is confident that he will be the man to score the goals for United to be successful again.

Despite playing in midfield during Louis van Gaal’s ill-fated tutelage, Mourinho has made it clear Rooney will not be deployed anywhere other than his attack.

“Getting that mentality back, from being a midfield player to being a goalscorer again is what I've been working on all pre-season.

“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.

“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.”

Mourinho has started already starting turning United into a force again with the arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and Henrikh Mkhitaryan – and with Paul Pogba expected to join in the coming weeks.

Rooney said that Ibrahimovic has a "big personality" and added that he can tell that the former PSG forward wants to be a really important player at Old Trafford.

“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," he said.

“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.

“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.”

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