• Premier League

Rooney will thrive on captain's pressure, says Owen

ESPN staff
August 15, 2014
All set for Premier League kick-off

Wayne Rooney will have no trouble coping with the pressures that come with the Manchester United captaincy, according to the club's former striker Michael Owen.

Rooney, who was named United's new captain by Louis van Gaal on Tuesday, will lead his team-mates out at Old Trafford on Saturday for the Premier League opener against Swansea.

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The striker has enjoyed a resurgent pre-season under new manager Van Gaal and the Dutchman's influential presence seems to have worked wonders for Rooney's demeanour. Owen believes Rooney is ready to lead United into a new era and will prove he is the right choice for the armband.

"Wayne has made no secret in the past of wanting to captain his club and his country," Owen told the Manchester Evening News. "He sees it as a great honour and rightly so.

"He is a very popular player among the lads so I am sure everyone is delighted for him. He might be losing a bit of sleep getting ready for the big kick-off because he will be as proud as punch looking forward to leading out Manchester United.

"However, when you talk about top quality players like Wayne Rooney, pressure doesn't come into it.

"When you go out on the pitch you lap pressure up. It is almost like a drug. You want more pressure.

"You want people to think you are the go-to man. Wayne has proven over the years he can handle that type of pressure. When you are confident in your own ability and when you are at the top of your game pressure doesn't come into it."

Rooney has been largely backed to thrive as United's captain; Phil Jagielka has tipped his England team-mate to skipper the national side, while United legend Dwight Yorke believes appointing Robin van Persie as captain would have been a "disaster."

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