• Premier League

Rooney calls for United captaincy

ESPN staff
May 23, 2014
Wayne Rooney has captained Manchester United in the past © Getty Images

Wayne Rooney has told new manager Louis van Gaal that he wants to become Manchester United's new captain, but insists he will have no problem if Robin van Persie is preferred.

United are on the hunt for a new captain following Nemanja Vidic's departure to Inter Milan. Vice-captain Patrice Evra also looks set to leave the club.

A decision on who will lead his side is expected after the World Cup but Van Persie is the favourite after Van Gaal hinted he would like the "fantastic" leader to take on the role for his club that he fulfills for the manager with the Netherlands.

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But Rooney, who has been at United for a decade and was poised to take the armband under David Moyes, declared he is "ready" to lead the club.

"I am interested in the captaincy. I feel I am ready, but it's the manager's decision," Rooney said. "I've captained United a few times and to get it on a full-time basis would be great."

Van Persie captained Arsenal before he joined United in 2012, but if the 30-year-old is given the responsibility, Rooney says he would not be disappointed with the decision.

"If he [Van Gaal] chooses someone else, then honestly I've got no problems with that," Rooney said. "I will respect his decision. Robin is captain of his country, he has captained Arsenal and if Robin gets the nod to be captain, then I'm sure he'll do a great job."

Rooney will put club matters to one side over the next few weeks as he focuses on performing at the World Cup. The 28-year-old will be the main man for England in Brazil and insists now is the time for him to shine for his nation.

There have been such high expectations of him before, of course, but he has failed to score in two World Cups for England and in a bid to break his duck will speak to sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters.

Peters, who has been hired by England manager Roy Hodgson and already addressed the squad, worked with Liverpool and has been an influential figure in the careers of cyclists Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton and snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan.

"The manager has brought him [Peters] in for us. It's not something where you have to do it. He made it clear that he's not here to be going around the players all the time," Rooney said.

"If we want to see him, we can, and after hearing his speech, I'll certainly speak to him and see if it can benefit me. There's no harm in that. It's interesting. If it can give me an extra couple of per cent, it's worth doing. So I'll speak to him and see how it goes and if it's worth continuing.

"When you're going into a tournament, you believe you're going to do well, so you don't really feel that pressure, but maybe inside you are, and you just don't realise."

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