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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.

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