At the end of a pre-season in which they had come away from every game they played victorious, Manchester United scored a winning goal in the closing stages at Old Trafford against visiting La Liga side Valencia. However, there was a moment just after that which was much more significant for the club, as new manager Louis van Gaal announced the name of his captain ahead of the upcoming campaign. That name was Wayne Rooney.
Wayne was handed the armband for van Gaal’s first match at Old Trafford, displaying his suitability for the role before the announcement was made. The Dutch coach’s arrival marks a new era for United, and Wayne expressed his delight at being the man who will lead the club into it.
“Walking out last night as captain of Manchester United was an unbelievably proud moment for me and my family,” he said via his official Facebook account. “It’s a huge honour for me to captain this great club and I will take great pride in doing so. I would like to thank all the fans for their support, I am looking forward to the exciting times ahead and leading their club to more success.”
Given the incredible history of the club, the captaincy of Manchester United is something which is reserved only for players of the highest status in world football. Wayne’s manager explained the reasons behind his decision after the announcement.
“For me it’s always very important the choice of captain,” said van Gaal. “Wayne has shown a great attitude towards everything he does. I have been very impressed by his professionalism and his attitude to training and to my philosophy. He is a great inspiration to the younger members of the team and I believe he will put his heart and soul into his captaincy role.”
Speaking regarding Wayne’s deputy, the United boss said: “Darren Fletcher will become the vice-captain. Darren is a natural leader and will captain the team when Wayne isn’t playing. Darren is a very experienced player and a very popular member of the dressing room, I know he will work well alongside Wayne.”
Having joined the Red Devils 10 years ago this month, Wayne has a decade’s worth of experience representing United. This could well have played a part in his appointment as captain, especially due to the fact that he has consistently performed for the club ever since he signed. The striker averages 44 games a season in all competitions and has never played fewer than 37 in a single campaign, showing the toughness of his character and how his team can always rely on him. With 158 goals in 307 Premier League games for United, a record of better than one in two, Wayne’s impact on the club’s domestic dominance is clear for all to see. During his time at Old Trafford, he has so far helped them claim half of the league titles on offer.
Becoming only the 27th English captain of the side in United’s 136-year history, Wayne will look to emulate the success of compatriots and club legends Bryan Robson and Sir Bobby Charlton. A more recent captain of the Red Devils is the man he will be looking to overtake, however, with Irishman Roy Keane having won more trophies than any other United skipper.
“It is a huge honour for me – and for my family – to be named captain of this great club,” Wayne said. “It is a role I will perform with great pride. Team spirit has always been very high in our dressing room and I am very grateful to the manager for the faith he has shown in me. “
Speaking exclusively to his official website, Wayne said: “I can’t wait to lead the team out on Saturday at Old Trafford in my first competitive match as club captain. It’s going to be a special moment for me.”
Written by Tony Davies
Copyright 2014 Stoneygate 48 Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.officialwaynerooney.com as the source.