Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs has said that Wayne Rooney is surprisingly sharp for a returning World Cup player and that he will play a part against LA Galaxy in Louis van Gaal's first match in charge in the early hours of Thursday morning, UK time.
Rooney is playing to stake his claim as a United captain to Van Gaal and though he and the other World Cup players are ten days behind the rest in fitness terms, Giggs said the coaching staff had been impressed with him.
“The players are trying to impress in training and they'll be trying to impress in the game against LA Galaxy,” Giggs said. “That's definitely the case when a new manager comes in. You want to be on that team-sheet for that first game of the season against Swansea. So you do everything you can to do that.
“Everyone will be involved in the first game. Wayne looks really good. Actually all of the World Cup lads have come back looking really sharp. The World Cup boys are a bit behind in terms of their fitness, with the other lads who have been back 10 days or so, but no, Wayne looks good, along with the rest of the lads.”
Robin van Persie clearly has a head start on Rooney in the battle to persuade Van Gaal who should be captain. The Dutch player and manager already have a close relationship. Giggs gave a sense of how important Van Gaal considers the captaincy issue to be, when he said it was one of the first topics of conversation the Dutchman raised when the two met, before confirmation of the manager. Giggs has had his say on who the captain should be.
“It always matters who the captain is,” Giggs said. “It's a tremendous honour. Not many people get to captain Manchester United, so whoever it will be, it will be a tremendous honour. It's one of the things we discussed first when I met Louis. Obviously, with the leaving of the experienced players, it's one of the decisions we are prioritising.
“The decision hasn't been made yet. Louis is still getting to know the players. He's still trying to see their qualities. “The likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, maybe a player like that will thrive from it, take charge and come out of their shell.”