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Van Gaal hints Rooney will be United captain

ESPN staff
August 5, 2014 « Captain Rooney inspires United to International Champions title | Day 6: Maria Ho eliminated, 68 left »
Louis van Gaal says he would prefer an Englishman as his Manchester United captain © Getty Images
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Louis van Gaal has given his strongest indication yet that Wayne Rooney will be his Manchester United captain.

Rooney produced an impressive second half performance to spur United to a 3-1 International Champions Cup final victory against rivals Liverpool in Miami. Van Gaal is taking his time on naming his captain, with Jonny Evans, Robin van Persie and Darren Fletcher all in the running. However, the Dutchman hinted he would prefer an English candidate for the role.

Trophy means nothing, says Van Gaal

  • Louis van Gaal played down the importance of winning his first trophy as Manchester United manager and said that winning pre-season competitions means "nothing."
  • Van Gaal saw his United side win 3-1 against Liverpool in the final of the International Champions Cup on Monday, but indicated he would rather watch his players defeat Swansea in their opening game of the new Premier League season.
  • Asked what winning the tournament meant, Van Gaal said: "Nothing. It's nice for the fans in the USA and also at home that we beat Liverpool. It's not our favourite opponent, I think, for Manchester United fans.
  • "We have given a lot of pleasure to these fans and that is very important. Of course it is better to win in pre-season than to lose but the most important game is Swansea home in the first game, that's the one we have to win."

"I am always looking for opportunities to give players the captain's armband. Today Rooney played 90 minutes for the first time," Van Gaal said.

"Fletcher had already done it two times, then he was the captain, and Tom Ceverley, because he also had 90 minutes. I think you choose, when it is possible, the English style. That is when it is possible."

Rooney sparked United's second half charge by calmly tucking away Javier Hernandez's cross in the 55th minute. It was his fifth goal of the tour and the England international was later named player of the tournament, which his manager felt was fully deserved.

"He is a man who is always a winner. You saw in the World Cup, when the award went to [Lionel] Messi, it is not always like that," Van Gaal said.

"It was deserved for him [Rooney] because he scored a lot of goals and made a lot of assists. The judges are always looking for that.

"It was a wonderful goal from Rooney. When you see the technique and what he did to push the ball under the legs of the opponent and into the bottom corner. It was a great cross from Javier Hernandez and a very good attack.

"We have also defended very well and without a defence we cannot score. Any of my defenders could have been my most valuable player of the tournament."

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