Wayne Rooney Tells Louis Van Gaal He Wants Manchester United Captaincy

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 20:  Wayne Rooney of Manchester United wears the Captain's armband during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park on April 20, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Update from Friday, May 23

Wayne Rooney has made it clear to Louis van Gaal he would like the Manchester United captaincy.

However, he will not kick up a fuss if Robin van Persie gets the armband, per the Daily Mail's Paul Collins:

I’ve said before that I’ve captained United a few times and to get it on a full-time basis would be great. But obviously with the new manager coming in, it’s his decision. Whoever he chooses to be captain, I’ll respect that and have no problems with it.

If he chooses someone else then honestly I’ve got no problems with that. I’ll respect his decision. Robin van Persie (above) is captain of his country, he’s captained Arsenal and if Robin gets the nod then I’m sure he’ll do a great job. It is going to be an exciting time at the club.


Original Text

One of Louis van Gaal's first tasks in charge of Manchester United will be meeting Wayne Rooney to discuss the club's captaincy, according to reports.

It is widely suggested Van Gaal will snub Rooney in favour of Robin van Persie's leadership—a player who currently captains the new manager's Netherlands outfit at international level—as reported by Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star:

The decision will leave Rooney fuming considering he wanted the role himself at Old Trafford. David Moyes had told Rooney he would be United skipper next season before he was axed as boss last month following his disastrous season in charge.

Van Gaal knows he risks the wrath of fans before he has even started his new job and doesn't want to alienate the England striker.

Neil Henderson of the BBC also highlighted the meeting when he posted the aforementioned newspaper's back page:

Rooney appeared pleased with Van Gaal's appointment, as noted on the player's Twitter account:

It is likely the forward is seeking assurances toward his role under the Dutchman, who is famed for implementing his influence over clubs with a stern and forceful manner.

Rooney was among the minority who flourished under David Moyes. The former manager allowed his old Everton colleague to star in a striker's role, a decision certainly helped by Van Persie's lengthy injury problems throughout the season.  With RvP fit, Rooney is likely to be pushed slightly behind his prolific teammate.

Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Despite a troubled campaign under Moyes, Rooney managed to rack up 19 goals in 38 appearances across the Premier League and Europe, per WhoScored.com. He also created plenty of opportunities when around the box, laying on 15 assists for teammates in this time.

Van Gaal dropped a huge hint toward giving Van Persie the captaincy after watching his striker score a fantastic goal during Netherlands' 1-1 draw with Ecuador, as reported by Martha Kelner of the Daily Mail:

I was happy with his performance, but he is also a fantastic captain — and that is important, too. I think you always make a player captain when you have the same morals and philosophy as they do. Not only about football and tactics and what is happening on the pitch but about life as well. We click and I think that’s very important. I believe that Van Persie and Van Gaal share the same philosophy.

Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Rooney may have to get used to playing under RvP's influence, despite being the best-paid individual at the club. United must turn to both as leaders during this transitional time, but there's no denying their style of guidance would differ. Van Persie is certainly more controlled on the pitch, although he does possess a certain fire in his gut, whereas Rooney often plays with the ferociousness of Roy Keane.

Both will have a major role to fulfill during Van Gaal's first season in charge. If Van Gaal believes Van Persie is the best symbol and leader for this new era United, then no qualms can be had. Rooney has proven himself unreliable at moments throughout his career, the kind of behaviour Van Gaal wouldn't stand for from any of his players, let alone his captain.

While the decision is yet to be made, don't be surprised if Dutch influence over United continues to galvanise in the coming weeks.