What do you think about Manchester United’s season?
Our main target this year was to get back into the top four, and we have done that so in that sense it’s not bad at all. You have to realise that at the start of the season we had a new manager, new coaches and a lot of new players, so it was always going to be a tough ask for us to go and win the Premier League. It was a bit disappointing not to win any silverware, especially the FA Cup after the defeat to Arsenal in the quarterfinals; we had a great chance of going on to win that. After last season it would have been a disaster if we didn’t get that Champions League spot, but the main thing is that the club is now back where it belongs.
Have you enjoyed working with Louis Van Gaal?
I’ve really enjoyed working with the manager and have learned a lot from him, his will to win and his attention to detail are second to none. In terms of training sessions, every session means something, even if it’s a little game, he wants the team who he is working with to win and he’s not happy if they don’t. His knowledge of the game is incredible, prior to games or post game analysis, he picks up on everything and nothing goes unnoticed. He’s also great to work with, in training and match days he’s very serious but he’s also very approachable if the players need to talk to him, he’s genuinely a nice guy.
How have you found the role of being captain?
I’ve loved being captain. Being named captain of Manchester United at the start of the season was one of the proudest moments of my career. Even though there wasn’t lots of experienced senior players in the squad I still didn’t know if I would get the armband or not. I’ve always been vocal in the dressing room and on the pitch so not a lot has changed in that sense, but there are added responsibilities like bringing the lads closer together and finding out player’s thoughts and opinions and I think I’ve adopted that role well. I was also named England captain earlier on in the season and that was a big responsibility also, things I’ve learned captaining England I’ve used at the club and vice versa. I’ve always listened and watched captains I’ve played under closely so I’ve took into account what I thought worked and what didn’t, but I like to think I’ve been doing things my own way and I’m very happy with how it’s gone so far.
What is the target for Manchester United next year?
I honestly believe we will go far next year and won’t be far off challenging for the league. If you look at the first 10 to 11 games we only had around 13 points, and if you look at where we finished I think it shows we could have been up there with a better start. We’ve dominated and outplayed most teams this season but haven’t taken our chances to win those games, it could have been a different story if we had. The most important thing is that as a squad, including the manager and myself, we believe we are close to challenging for the title and with a couple of signings in the summer we will have a good chance of doing that. It would be good to win as many cups as possible, a club like Manchester United should be winning trophies and hopefully next season we can put that right.
What are your thoughts on England’s Season?
It’s been a great season for the national team. All the lads are proud of going the season unbeaten, I don’t think we’ve done that for a long time. It’s important that we kick on from here and go about the rest of the qualifying in the same manner. There’s a great team spirit at the moment and a lot of the lads who have come into the squad have been brilliant, more of the same and we will secure that place for France next year.
What are your personal goals for next season?
My personal goals are to perform for my club and country to the best of my ability, and to make sure I’m the best captain I can be. I’ve always set my standards as high as possible and that hasn’t changed. I want to help both Manchester United and England win trophies and next year I will have the chance to do that. I still have personal targets of becoming the all time leading goal scorer for both England and Manchester United, that’s something that is still in my mind but the main priority will be to help both my club and country perform the best they possibly can.
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