Ibrahimovic praises ‘perfect partner’ Rooney
Zlatan Ibrahimovic says he is excited by the prospect of playing alongside Wayne Rooney at Manchester United and described his new team mate as the “perfect partner for a striker”.
The new pairing could make their Old Trafford debut together in Rooney’s testimonial against his former club Everton on Wednesday, having linked up to good effect in United’s 5-2 friendly victory over Galatasaray in Gothenburg on Saturday.
“I said many years ago the perfect partner for a striker is Wayne Rooney,” Ibrahimovic told Manchester United TV on Wednesday.
“He works not only for himself but for the striker and the whole team. I’m absolutely happy to be one of the guys beside him.”
Ibrahimovic also praised Rooney’s longevity at Old Trafford, a sentiment echoed by former United manager Alex Ferguson, who has paid his own tribute to the forward in the official programme for Wednesday’s match.
“(Wayne’s) gone on to play for Manchester United for 12 years, which is very difficult in the present day,” said Ferguson.
“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.”
It remains to be seen what role Rooney will play under new coach Jose Mourinho this season, with the forward having been increasingly used as a midfielder under previous boss Louis van Gaal.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, signed from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, is a natural candidate for a role behind the striker, while United’s reported pursuit of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba threatens to add further competition in the middle of the pitch.
Ibrahimovic, however, is confident that Mourinho will find a way of getting the best from United’s talented options.
“I think every big player can work with other big players,” Ibrahimovic continued. “That’s not a problem.
“We are 11 players not two players on the pitch. It’s up to the coach what he wants but, with him, I see no problems, only success.”