Wayne Rooney has praised new manager Jose Mourinho, labelling him as “one of the most successful managers of all time” and citing his arrival as a huge cause for motivation.
Rooney struggled for large parts of the previous campaign, only managing 8 league goals – a career low.
However, the 30-year-old has expressed his enthusiasm at the prospect of working under Mourinho, and is clearly determined to reassert himself under the 53-year-old.
“It’s an exciting time for Manchester United. I’ve always respected him both as a man and a manager, he’s a nice guy and one of the most successful managers of all time,” said Rooney.
“I like to think I’m always motivated as a player but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit more motivated when a new manager comes in. I’m sure all the lads will be happy to be working under Jose and also eager to impress.
“I’ve played against many Mourinho sides over the years and I can’t remember any easy games, so I think that says it all. His teams are always hard to beat, tactically disciplined and, most importantly, successful.
“He’ll bring all these qualities with him and I’m sure he’ll have his own ideas, but one of the biggest assets will be his experience. He’s managed a lot of successful teams throughout his career and all that experience will be vital.”
Some have questioned whether Rooney’s reduced speed and power would preclude him from being a regular starter under Mourinho, especially as a No.9, a position he continually struggled to master last year.
However, the boss himself has no such doubts. In his first press conference, Mourinho insisted that Rooney would be deployed primarily as a No.9.
Mourinho still has faith in Rooney’s capacity to lead the line, despite being heavily criticised by some fans. The question is, as the new season approaches, will he be able to repay Jose’s faith?