Wayne Rooney improves chances of being handed Manchester United captaincy on full-time basis
If the manager wants me to be captain, I’d have no problem with that. I’d grab it with both hands
Leading from the front in every sense at West Ham on Saturday has improved Wayne Rooney’s chances of becoming Manchester United’s captain next season.
His manager, David Moyes, who badly needed a second victory of the week to remove some of the growing pressure from his hunched shoulders, was impressed by the way Rooney went about his work, including the touch of genius that brought the first of his two goals in the 2-0 win.
It was not the first time the England striker has taken the armband but the honour will be available on a permanent basis from the end of this season, when Nemanja Vidic leaves for Internazionale. With Patrice Evra likely to go too and Rio Ferdinand no longer a regular starter, Rooney will be a clear candidate. There has even been a suggestion that the captaincy was dangled as an added carrot in negotiations for the four-year contract extension he recently signed.
Rooney had previously told the club magazine Inside United: “I’ve captained a few times for United and if the manager wants me to be captain, I’d have no problem with that. I’d grab it with both hands.”
Moyes said no decision would be made until the end of the season but added: “Maybe he wore the armband and took a wee bit of pride in that. He wanted to show exactly what it means and he wanted to take responsibility. It’s for him to show it and you’d have to say he showed it.”
Evra and Ferdinand will be back in contention for tomorrow night’s derby at home to Manchester City, although Moyes, a former centre-half, was impressed by how well Michael Carrick did in that position at Upton Park. It was something the watching England manager, Roy Hodgson, may also file away for future use.
Olympiakos and West Ham may have been less demanding opponents than City will be, but in achieving two wins without conceding a goal Moyes believes United will have won some renewed belief. “We go in showing that, if we play as well as we did today, then we’ll make chances,” he said. “If we play with the same heartbeat we showed against Olympiakos, then we’ll be very hard to play against. City and Liverpool have been really good going forward throughout the year, that’s why they have found themselves at the top of the league. So we have to be mindful of that, we have to have a balance of attacking and defending.”
Rooney’s volley from just inside the West Ham half may have won the acclaim but his second goal was just as important in subduing the home side. As Gary Neville tweeted: “West Ham was always a ground where you felt something stupid could happen when we were playing there!”
There was never any danger of that this time and Sam Allardyce admitted that his side have “put ourselves in a little danger again”. They face Hull City and Sunderland in the next eight days, needing to rediscover last month’s fine form after three successive defeats.
Latest in Sport
Liverpool transfer news: Reds buoyed after Marco Reus rejects new Borussia Dortmund contract offer - reports
Arsenal agree new deal with BT Sport - which coincides nicely with advert showing FA Cup win over Liverpool
Liverpool transfer news: Divock Origi joins before World Cup star is immediately loaned back to Lille
Scottie dogs in Commonwealth Games opening ceremony 'disrespectful to Muslims', say Malaysian politicians
Liverpool transfer news: Daniel Agger closing in on Barcelona move as Xavi plans to stay
- 1 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 2 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 3 'Women should not laugh in public,' says Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister in morality speech
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45 after suffering from cancer
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?