Louis van Gaal has admitted that Wayne Rooney has defied his expectations since he arrived at the club.
The United manager claimed that Rooney "lives for football" and has revelled in the captaincy since Van Gaal awarded it to him in the summer. "He is in a great moment," Van Gaal said.
However the Dutchman conceded that before he took over he had heard stories about the striker. "But from the first day he was not the Wayne Rooney what people have said about him," Van Gaal said. "He was, in my eyes, an example in training. I think he shall always play with me, but that's also difficult to say because when he is in a bad moment then maybe you can be convinced to change him.
"But he is my captain now, because he is [the] example. I have the impression that he lives for football, and that he likes that he is captain."
Rooney was among the scorers yesterday as Manchester United won three games in a row for the first time in almost a year with a facile 3-0 victory over Hull at Old Trafford.
Chris Smalling and Robin van Persie joined Rooney on the scoresheet. "It is the first match that we have dominated the game from the first minute until the last minute and in a way that I like," said the manager.
The downside for United was a hamstring injury to record signing Angel di Maria early in the game. The Argentinian was forced to limp off and, although he will now be assessed, Van Gaal has already ruled him out of Tuesday's clash with Stoke.
Van Gaal was also pleased to see Van Persie score after a week of heavy criticism following his lacklustre display at Arsenal which had led to speculation that he may be sold in the summer.
"Every striker needs a goal," said Van Gaal. "When you haven't scored in the last two or three matches you need a goal. I am very pleased and happy for him that he scored but I am sure he can play better than he did today."
One player whose future at United is in doubt is Anderson - who is available to leave on a free before his contract expires at the end of the season, despite the club having paid £26m for him.
However, Van Gaal did not rule out the 26-year-old having a future with him if he can regain his fitness.
"He's now coming back," Van Gaal said. "He was injured but he's training now with the team. I cannot say what had happened last year or the years before that but in four months he's had a lot of injuries. So I cannot judge him but when he trains he trains at a good level. He's not always fit and that is more his problem now."
Sunday Indo Sport
You could argue for hours about whether a great goalkeeper makes a great team or a great team helps a goalkeeper to become great - but if you look at the stats for David Seaman, Peter Schmeichel, Edwin van der Sar, Petr Cech and Jens Lehmann it is obvious that no team can be dominant without a world-class custodian.
It has been a while since Robin van Persie walked off the pitch with a smile on his face, but the Manchester United forward's expression was a mixture of delight and relief as he trooped off Old Trafford to a standing ovation following a spectacular end to his recent goal drought.