Wayne Rooney has revealed details of his inspirational team-talk that helped Manchester United secure key wins over Liverpool and Manchester City which propelled them on to Champions League qualification.
The Red Devils returned to the Champions League at the first time of asking this season despite only accumulating 13 points from their first 10 games.
Key to the turnaround was a run form which saw them record key wins over fellow top four rivals Tottenham and Liverpool before recording a key win over rivals City on April 12. They finished the campaign six points clear of Spurs and will now face a qualifier to make it into Europe's leading club competition.
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Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal revealed last week the leading role Rooney took in the dressing room, and speaking in interview with former player turned pundit Gary Neville, the forward revealed that he made Van Gaal lead the dressing room after the FA Cup defeat against Arsenal in order to rally the troops.
"I've done a few throughout the season, I think a few of the players spoke after the Liverpool game about that one," he said.
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"We just got beaten at home by Arsenal in the FA Cup and we had Liverpool and Manchester City coming up so I knew we had some tough games. So I just felt that as reminder to the players of the football club we're playing at, the standards we need to set."
When quizzed by Neville over whether Van Gaal was asked in the room, Rooney replied: "No I asked the manager if I could do it without any staff in the room, I just felt it would have been easier for a few of the other players to speak up if they wanted to.
"He took it on board and listened, and we went on a good run from there."
In a wide-ranging interview Rooney also insisted he wasn't worried about his role at the club following the arrival of Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco last year, while also revealing that playing as a striker under Van Gaal required him to be more disciplined.
Wayne Rooney may come off as a shy and retiring type but it certainly seems as though he is growing into his leadership role now that the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have left.
The striker also reportedly did the same thing before the 3-1 win against Leicester earlier this season and the trick worked that time - sadly it didn't quite work when they tried to bag second place for themselves.
Van Gaal said at the club's award's night: "I remember the meeting with the players with the captain Wayne Rooney, who's saying 'we go for the second position in the league' and I said: 'YESSS! We go for it!' Still, better luck next year.
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