Wayne Rooney is a very controlled captain but can sometimes ‘cross the limits’, according to Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.
The Dutchman has insisted that the England international remains the right choice to have been made United captain before the start of this season, following a campaign wherein the Red Devils achieved a top four finish.
Van Gaal praise
Although he admitted that Rooney was often found to be arguing with referees about decisions not going United’s way, Van Gaal praised his forward for his democratic leadership skills and stated that he was not a dictator.
“He is a democratic leader, he is not a dictator,” Van Gaal said, according to the Manchester Evening News.
“I like democratic leadership. He is always setting an example for the other players and maybe Wayne is the example for the team’s fighting spirit.
“Sometimes he can cross the limits but when you review his season you can say that he is a controlled captain.
“He will always argue with the referee but he did it at the right moment in a positive way. So I think after one season I can say I made the right decision to make him our captain. I am very happy with him.”
What makes it all the more interesting is that Van Gaal could so easily have ended up making the wrong decision when it came to announcing his new skipper prior to his maiden term in charge at Old Trafford.
A host of candidates were marked by the bookies as potential successors to the departing Nemanja Vidic, chief amongst whom was Robin van Persie, fresh from playing under Van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Rooney must have believed his chances of getting the armband were slim when the new coach arrived, particularly as Van Persie had been his captain at international level. Others such as Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher were also possible candidates, having proven themselves consistent leaders for a number of years.
Reflection on the season
Yet it was Rooney who was given the nod and by all accounts he’s impressed with both his passion and performances this year. United might not have exceeded expectations by finishing fourth in the Premier League, but given the amount of turmoil the club’s been subjected to recently even that should be commended.
Next year of course will be a different story as United look to build on this year’s finish and make headway in the Champions League.
It’s inevitable that more star names will arrive at Old Trafford, thus creating an increased workload for Captain Rooney, and at the very least Van Gaal will expect the England international to help keep squad harmony high whilst integrating whoever might be purchased this summer.
One thing the former Everton man might want to work on first is his own temperament. Of the five games he missed this year three of them were due to a suspension handed down after a silly red card Rooney received against West Ham.
It might be too late in the day to focus too much on quelling his fiery passion, but if he makes the same mistake in a big game next year Van Gaal might yet be made to rue not having attempted such.
United fans, is there anyone else better suited to being your captain than Wayne Rooney? If so let us know who you think should have the armband in the comments box below.