Sir Alex Ferguson and Wayne Rooney didn’t always see eye-to-eye while working together at Manchester United - and back in 2013, when the former retired from management, it appeared their relationship may have been beyond repair.
Since then, however, bridges have been built between the two men.
While they’ll never be best mates, they both appreciate what each other did for their respective careers and a mutual respect clearly exists between them.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
On the eve of Rooney’s Manchester United testimonial, Ferguson has explained why he signed the English striker from Everton back in 2004.
Rooney cost United £30 million, but the Liverpool-born forward has paid back every penny of that transfer fee over the past 12 years.
Ferguson on his decision to sign Rooney
“He [Rooney] was an exciting signing [in 2004],” Ferguson told the official United programme, per the Telegraph. “It was fairly shortly after I’d got rid of the idea of retiring and changed my mind, and I had to rethink about how we were going to take the club forward.
"When you make the decision to retire, you stop thinking, but once I decided to stay I started thinking again and it was really centred around bringing energy back into the team by looking at young players.
“Of course there was Cristiano Ronaldo, then there was Rooney, and it was a fantastic period. The two of them were unbelievable.
"Wayne came in as a first-team player right away, even though he was only 18, and he’s gone on to play for Manchester United for 12 years, which is very difficult in the present day.
"I always think that great players can play in any era. Bobby Charlton would have been a great player today and Wayne Rooney would have been a great player back then.”
Rooney set to become United's all-time top scorer
Rooney has scored 245 goals for the Red Devils and is the club’s second-highest goalscorer of all time behind Sir Bobby Charlton.
The 30-year-old needs five more goals to surpass the England legend and should achieve that career ambition early this season.
Although his captaincy at international level isn’t assured - Sam Allardyce said in his opening press conference last week that it’s too early to think about that particular issue - Jose Mourinho, his new club boss, has no plans to take the armband away from him.
Van Gaal on why he handed Rooney the armband
Louis van Gaal handed Rooney the captaincy at Old Trafford and has told the United programme: “I was very quickly convinced of his [Rooney’s] personality and that’s why he was easy to work with. I quickly decided he would be my captain because I saw also the attitude of his fellow players towards him.
"They approached him always with a lot of respect and that’s also important when you have to install a captain. It is very important that he is seen by his fellow players as a very important person in the dressing room, and there is no question that he is very important at United.”
Should Wayne Rooney still be a starter for Manchester United this season? Have your say by leaving a comment below.