MANCHESTER: Skipper Wayne Rooney says Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester United manager has given him extra motivation for the new Premier League season.
Mourinho, tasked with making United title contenders once more after the sacking of Louis van Gaal in May, has signalled that he sees Rooney playing up front — rather than the deeper midfield position he took up for England and United at the back end of last season.
Rooney, 30, who is only four goals behind Bobby Charlton’s record haul of 249 in United’s all-time top-scorers list, told Inside United magazine: “I’m really excited to be working with Jose this season as he’s one of the best managers in the world.
“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.
“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.”
Rooney, who has been joined at Old Trafford over the summer by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Ivorian defender Eric Bailly and Armenian playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, said he had never enjoyed an easy game against a Mourinho side.
“His teams are always hard to beat, tactically disciplined and, most importantly, successful,” Rooney said of the former Chelsea, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Porto boss.
“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.”