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Rooney wants Manchester United’s captaincy, but his candidacy is a complicated one

Jul 26, 2014, 6:14 PM EDT

Britain Soccer Champions League AP

It wasn’t so long ago that Wayne Rooney was considered a potential captain for both club and country. Now, after power plays at club and another disappointing World Cup for country, that talk’s died down. Though there are questions about who will wear the armbands for both Manchester United and England, Rooney’s candidacy is no longer being trumpeted.

That’s not so say he isn’t an option. In fact, if Rooney has his way, he’d inherit the Red Devils’ honor from Nemanja Vidic, who has departed for Inter Milan. With a new coach on the bench, though, he knows his stature is no guarantee he’ll lead United out of the tunnel.

From Sky Sports:

Robin van Persie, who was [Louis] van Gaal’s captain for the Netherlands, is a contender for the job, while long-serving midfielder Darren Fletcher wore the armband in the midweek win over Los Angeles Galaxy …

“Of course I would like the captaincy but it’s the manager’s decision who he chooses,” said Rooney.

“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.”

Fletcher, who debuted with United in 2002, is the only member of the team that’s been with the Red Devils longer than Rooney, who moved to Old Trafford from Everton in 2004. During the ensuing decade, Rooney has made 442 appearances with the club, collecting 216 goals.

During that time, however, Rooney’s also threatened to leave the club twice, with last summer’s transfer window highlighted by rumors connecting him with Stamford Bridge. Three years earlier, Rooney briefly demanded to leave the club after butting heads with former manager Alex Ferguson. Both times, new contracts with increased salaries quelled Rooney’s discontent.

It’s unclear whether those incidents will influence Louis van Gaal’s decision, but if there are any lingering effects from those power plays, Ryan Giggs will be sure to inform his new boss. As successful as Rooney has been on the field, a may not be the best man to fill Vidic’s boots.

  1. geejon - Jul 26, 2014 at 7:09 PM


    First of all, Fletcher is a squad player who’ll hardly see the pitch when you consider Carrick’s return and an inevitable new signing in the midfield.

    The reality is LVG’s is the only voice that matters. But since it’s basically between RVP and Rooney, I believe it should go to Rooney. He wants it. The fans want him to have it. He’s a Manchester United player whom fans have stuck with through good and bad. If RVP left tomorrow, you’d be hard-pressed to find a United fan who’d blink twice never mind shed a tear. Contrast that with how they feel about Rooney, despite his tantrums and issues with Sir Alex. How many players, in their prime and with their talent, were repeatedly asked to play out of their best position for one guy or another. How was Rooney supposed to feel when RVP showed up from Arsenal and was given his position. Wayne move over to the left. Wayne drop back into midfield. Yes he’s been a prick at times but he’s also done A LOT for the club. Give the man the armband. He deserves it. It’d be another slap in the face to give it to RVP. What has RVP done for Manchester United to earn it in all of 2 whole years with the club (1 good, 1 injury plagued)? This shouldn’t even be an issue.

    • tariencole - Jul 26, 2014 at 11:10 PM

      No he doesn’t deserve it. A me-first player is not material for a captaincy. The fact a man who’s never been best being in the #9 role goes on a sulk about being replaced by one of the best center-forwards on the planet at the position says enough about his priorities in itself. Never mind the fact he really IS better coming in where his left foot can make a difference.

      Rooney for captain? No.

  2. chargerdillon - Jul 26, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Whatever you do….. DO NOT let him take corner kicks

  3. bellerophon30 - Jul 26, 2014 at 9:50 PM

    Given the kind of squad rotation that Man U will be probably be undergoing, even though Alex is no longer in charge, the safest play really is De Gea. He’s the only guy who’s going to start every game, and will be there for a long time (assuming his play stays as it is). Fletcher and Valencia have captained their national teams, but neither are locks to even start 2/3 of the games. If Carrick wasn’t hurt, you could make a strong case for him.

    Odds are, he’ll name Rooney captain, with Van Persie as vice captain. Other than De Gea (and I have no idea how respected DdG is in the locker room), that’s the path of least resistance.

  4. mrhyperpants - Jul 28, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Rooney is a over rated and over paid.

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