Rio Ferdinand believes the appointment of Louis van Gaal as the manager of Manchester United will result in the ‘return’ of the halcyon days of Wayne Rooney and see the forward strike fear into the opposition once again.
Focus of anger
Ferdinand and Rooney were colleagues for a decade until the former left Old Trafford after the expiration of his contract, and the new Queens Park Rangers witness his ex-teammate change immensely since he first arrived at Manchester United as a teenager.
Rooney, says Ferdinand, was a ‘very angry young man’ during his early days with the club, and would often be seen smashing his mobile phone after flying into a rage. But he has, of course, matured since and Ferdinand now sees a man ready to hit peak form.
“I don’t know what happened but he did calm down. He’s still one of the top assist makers in the league. I just think he’s more effective up top,” Ferdinand wrote in his autobiography, as serialised by The Sun.
“I think under Louis Van Gaal we will see the return of the Rooney who terrorises opponents.”
Rooney impressed immensely under Van Gaal during pre-season, so much so that he was made Manchester United captain following the departure of Nemanja Vidic, and immediately allayed concerns he may be a player on the decline.
The 28-year-old had come in for much criticism during England’s failed World Cup campaign but, back in the colours of Manchester United, was able to prove his worth once more following a year to forget for club and country.
But his and his team’s form hit the buffers once the competitive campaign got underway, with Manchester United earning only two points from their opening three Premier League fixtures.
There was also a Capital One Cup humiliation handed outed by League One side MK Dons and, just two weeks into the season, any summer optimism appeared to have been extinguished.
The final days of the transfer window, however, offered a renewed sense of hope, with Angel di Maria and Radamel Falcao joining Rooney and Robin van Persie to complete an attacking unit of some repute.
A convincing win against QPR has since followed, during which Rooney was able to score his third goal in six games this season, and fans will be hopeful the added responsibility of the armband will exact optimum form.