Wayne Rooney Talks 'Incredible' Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho 'Stubbornness'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2020

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 12:  Manchester United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson congratulates Wayne Rooney following the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on May 12, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney has hailed the influence of former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, describing the coach as "incredible."

Rooney was brought to United by Ferguson in 2004 and went on to become a legend at Old Trafford. The forward departed the club in 2017 as the top scorer in United's history and having won numerous pieces of silverware.

The vast majority of his goals came under Ferguson, who retired as manager in 2013 after a glorious 27-year tenure. Rooney provided an insight into what the 13-time Premier League winner was like during his time as boss in an interview with The Sunday Times (h/t Goal):

"He was incredible. It wasn't complicated. The big thing was he had trust in people. He trusted his coaches to put sessions on, he trusted his players. People always ask how were his team talks—a lot of his team talks were just: 'You 11 are better than them. Go win the game.'"

Rooney was also asked what qualities he would take into his own coaching career from his previous bosses; the 34-year-old is in a player-coach role at Championship outfit Derby County:

"[Louis] van Gaal's preparation, Fergie's man-management, [Jose] Mourinho's stubbornness—I think sometimes you need that.

"Sam Allardyce knew what he wanted. You can only manage to the capabilities of your team and that's what Sam has always done. Once I go into it I'm sure I'll have my own way."

Rooney has the experience to become a successful coach. At United, he won five Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League, and he also became the England national team's record goalscorer, with 53 goals in his 120 appearances for the Three Lions.

The veteran recently took on United with Derby in the FA Cup, and despite being on the wrong end of a 3-0 loss, he showed flashes of quality:

Football on BT Sport @btsportfootball

He's 34, and playing CDM, but Wayne Rooney can still pick out a magical pass 👌 #EmiratesFACup https://t.co/eeCjhyr9SS

Ferguson had a huge influence on Rooney's career, helping him to develop into one of the best forwards in the world.

Rooney was able to showcase the natural talent he had on the biggest stage, although Ferguson would frequently tap into the forward's industrious attributes too, asking him to do a job in wide areas. James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph recently referenced some of those tactical shifts:

James Ducker @TelegraphDucker

Gabriel Jesus effectively doing what Ferguson used to ask Wayne Rooney to do a lot away from home in the CL knockout stages against the big boys. Tiring job up and down that left and cutting in when he can

The Derby man is clearly thinking about a coaching career for when he hangs up his boots, and it will be intriguing to see what type of manager Rooney becomes.

For the time being, his focus will be on the Rams, although it's unclear when their season will resume. All English Football League fixtures have been suspended until at least April 3 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.