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Premier League

Manchester United can win the Premier League title, claims Wayne Rooney, who also reveals he wants to be captain

The England striker is enjoying working under Louis van Gaal and seeing the Dutchman's ideas implemented

Wayne Rooney has declared that Manchester United can win the Premier League title with Louis van Gaal’s new system and wants to lead the club back as captain.

Van Gaal’s players face their first tough challenge against AS Roma on Saturday night, US time, after the 7-0 opening win over the LA Galaxy with a Dutch style of football which he said he had watched on television in the Netherlands World Cup games, after England’s early return home from the World Cup. Rooney appears to have used what he saw from the Netherlands games to help his preparations for Van Gaal joining up with the players.

Sir Alex Ferguson is preparing to meet Van Gaal for the first time since his appointment as manager. The 72-year-old will be in Washington on Tuesday to see United play Inter Milan at the Fedex Field and Real Madrid in Ann Arbor four days later.

But Rooney is looking to the future. “Of course we can win the title. Last season was a bad one, we know that, but we are confident we can put it right. We have to believe we can win the title. Of course I would like the captaincy but it’s the managers decision who he chooses. I think he wants to work with the players and then choose a captain from there. I don’t think he was ever going to just walk in and choose a player from the off.  I’m sure he will look at the players now and make his decision in a couple of weeks.”

Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory


It is van Gaal’s clarity of communication and honesty in training – he will call them out if they have dropped below expected standards, even in open training on Tuesday – which has struck a chord.

“I’ve only had a few days but he’s a strong guy who has been good in training and it’s been enjoyable,” Rooney said. “He is bringing in a new style of play and wants us all to adapt to that and that’s been enjoyable. It was good to see it work [against the Galaxy]. Of course the system is good for me. It’s great to hear him say he wants to play two strikers as we have a few. It’s a good formation and it’s good to work on it in training for a few days. It was always going to be interesting to see how it worked in a game and it worked well, which is good.


“He’s very honest in training. If you are not doing well in training he will tell you but if you do well he will praise you. If you aren’t doing things right in training you need to know so that you can put them right. In Brazil I watched the way Holland were playing and I carried on doing that when I came home. However you can watch as much as you want but it’s when you hear him getting his point across in training that you start to learn.”

Louis van Gaal works with Wayne Rooney during pre-season


Rooney’s World Cup was a disappointment, despite his first goal in the tournament and uncertainty about whether his performances justified a central role. Speaking for the first time about that, Rooney said: “Was I criticised in the World Cup? I honestly didn’t know. But I think that happens. It’s the world we live in. I came to understand that a few years ago. I’m not concerned about it at all.

“It was disappointing the way the World Cup went but… it was time for me to look forward and concentrate on Manchester United. That is what I am doing. I am just trying to get fit and get ready for the season.”