Rooney predicts success under Mourinho

England's Wayne Rooney leaves Auberge du Jeu de Paume on June 28.
England's Wayne Rooney leaves Auberge du Jeu de Paume on June 28. PHOTO: REUTERS

SHANGHAI • Wayne Rooney has had just one training session with Jose Mourinho, but already believes Manchester United's new manager can make the English football club serious challengers for major honours again.

The forward was speaking at a sponsor's event in Shanghai yesterday, at the start of United's two-game tour of China.

"I've only had one day (training with Mourinho) since we came out, but it was a very good day," he said.

"But I think you only have to look at the teams he's had before and the success he's had with them, and we're hoping he can bring that to us.

"I'm excited. It's a big season for us. The appointment of Jose Mourinho is a big appointment and we're all excited. We've made some fantastic signings too. Hopefully we can have a good start to the season and be successful by the end of it."

Mourinho has signed Eric Bailly, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic have added competition in the forward positions and Rooney knows he is under pressure for his place in the coming season.

"I think you always feel pressure when you play for Manchester United. It's one of the biggest - if not the biggest - clubs in the world and it's been a pleasure and a privilege to play for them for so long. You always feel you have to prove yourself every season, because it's a dream to play for them," the Englishman said.

Rooney had a poor Euro 2016 campaign, though Mourinho has made it clear that he will not play the 30-year-old in a midfield role, which was the case under Louis van Gaal and former England manager, Roy Hodgson.

United play Borussia Dortmund in Shanghai tomorrow and then face Manchester City in Beijing on Monday.

"This time of year, individually and as a team, it's important to get yourselves ready," said Michael Carrick, the club's second longest-serving player after Rooney.

"You want to get back in the habit of doing the right things and getting in the rhythm and routine again and feeling your way back into it.

"Everyone does that in different ways. Some are right on it at the start of pre-season and for others, it takes a bit longer. It's about being ready for the start of the season, that's the most important thing.

"There's a variety of things that you gain from going on these trips. The quality of the opposition is very high, so that will test us, and it's a good chance to get to know the new signings and the manager."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2016, with the headline 'Rooney predicts success under Mourinho'. Print Edition | Subscribe