England international Wayne Rooney has been named the new captain of Manchester United, Louis van Gaal has confirmed, with Scottish midfielder Darren Fletcher being named as vice-captain.
The Rooney appointment
Louis van Gaal said about the appointment: "For me it's always very important the choice of captain. Wayne has shown a great attitude towards everything he does. I have been very impressed by his professionalism and his attitude to training and to my philosophy. He is a great inspiration to the younger members of the team and I believe he will put his heart and soul into his captaincy role.
"Darren Fletcher will become the vice-captain. Darren is a natural leader and will captain the team when Wayne isn't playing. Darren is a very experienced player and a very popular member of the dressing room, I know he will work well alongside Wayne."
United have been looking for a new captain after former skipper Nemanja Vidic announced he would be leaving the Manchester side in early February. The long-serving centre-back back joined Italian side Inter Milan in the summer and the then vice-captain Patrice Evra also left the Red Devils.
The left back signed for Serie A side Juventus for £2 million. Many thought that Robin van Persie would be named the new United captain due to the fact that van Gaal had appointed the 31-year-old striker as the leader of the Holland national side for the World Cup, but it was not to be, and the Dutch coach preferred to opt for fan favourite Rooney.
A "huge honour"
Rooney himself said: "It is a huge honour for me – and for my family – to be named captain of this great club. It is a role I will perform with great pride. Team spirit has always been very high in our dressing room and I am very grateful to the manager for the faith he has shown in me. I look forward to leading the team out on Saturday at our first match of the new season."
The appointment of Fletcher has come as a shock as many United fans expecting perhaps Rooney to be the new vice-captain. Fletcher said: "I am delighted to have been named as vice-captain. It's a very proud moment for me and my family. Wayne and I have always worked well together and we will continue to work closely together in our new roles. I would like to thank the manager for putting his trust in me."