Wayne Rooney's Prospects of Captaining Manchester United Dented by Moyes Exit

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Wayne Rooney's Prospects of Captaining Manchester United Dented by Moyes Exit
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

David Moyes made a statement in the way he handled Wayne Rooney during his time in charge of Manchester United.

It was perhaps the only one he did make. 

By handing Rooney a new long-term deal worth £300,000 a week, Moyes gave notice of his plan to build his new team around the England striker.

With Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra absent for games against West Ham and Everton, Rooney was made captain. 

It looked likely, with Vidic committed to leaving Old Trafford for Inter this summer, that Rooney would get the armband permanently.

It was something Moyes hinted at when he spoke to reporters after the 2-0 win over West Ham last month:

Wayne has led by example all season. He wants to take responsibility and I think you always want players who take responsibility.

It’s for him to show it. You’d have to say that he showed it. You get opportunities in football, even if you’re a player out of the team suddenly you can get a chance. 

Or if you become a key player and then get the chance to wear the armband and take that on. He did that.

But if Rooney was looking forward to a future as United's main man, it has not quite worked out like that. Not yet, anyway.

Moyes is gone. And with him, any promises he made to Rooney. 

Whoever takes the job next will have a history of managing dressing rooms full of big personalities and big egos. It comes with the experience the United board crave.

The new man will have seen it all before.

The prospect of Louis van Gaal, especially, raises the possibility that Rooney might now not get everything his own way.

Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Not with Robin van Persie, van Gaal's countryman, in the squad.

Van Gaal knows Van Persie well after two years in charge of the Dutch national team. Their wives are friends, and they share the same agent.

He won't need time to find out if he can trust the former Arsenal striker. 

Van Gaal has already made Van Persie captain of Holland at the expense of Wesley Sneijder. And it wouldn't be a surprise if he did the same at Old Trafford.

But more than that, Rooney and Van Persie might also have to fight it out for their position in the Dutchman's team.

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Sir Alex Ferguson, and Moyes after him, often used the pair in partnership up front. But Van Gaal has traditionally set his teams up in a 4-3-3 formation. That could leave Rooney playing off the left or the right.

A new manager coming in means a clean slate for everyone at Old Trafford

That will be of some comfort to those who found opportunities hard to come by under Moyes. But perhaps not for those, like Rooney, who were set to play a central role in the new era.

The new manager, whoever it is, will be keen to make a statement on his arrival at Old Trafford. That much is certain. And it may well be Van Persie, rather than Rooney, who benefits this time.

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