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Rooney named United captain by Van Gaal

ESPN staff
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Wayne Rooney: "It's a huge honour for me to be named captain of this great club" © Getty Images
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Wayne Rooney has been named as Manchester United's new captain by Louis van Gaal.

The striker was given the armband for United's 2-1 pre-season friendly win against Valencia with Van Gaal announcing he would keep it permanently after the match.

"For me it's always very important the choice of captain. Wayne has shown a great attitude towards everything he does. I have been very impressed by his professionalism and his attitude to training and to my philosophy," Van Gaal told United's official website.

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"He is a great inspiration to the younger members of the team and I believe he will put his heart and soul into his captaincy role."

Rooney said: "It is a huge honour for me - and for my family - to be named captain of this great club. It is a role I will perform with great pride. Team spirit has always been very high in our dressing room and I am very grateful to the manager for the faith he has shown in me. I look forward to leading the team out on Saturday at our first match of the new season."

Robin van Persie had emerged as favourite for the armband, with Van Gaal having named the striker captain of the Dutch team, while Jonny Evans was also a surprise candidate.

However, following the 3-1 International Champions Cup final victory against Liverpool last week, Van Gaal gave the strongest hint since his arrival that he would choose Rooney for the role, revealing he would prefer an English candidate to take charge on the pitch.

Van Gaal also announced that Darren Fletcher, who scored the first Old Trafford goal of Van Gaal's reign on Tuesday, will act as vice-captain.

"Darren is a natural leader and will captain the team when Wayne isn't playing," Van Gaal added. "Darren is a very experienced player and a very popular member of the dressing room, I know he will work well alongside Wayne."

Fletcher said: "I am delighted to have been named as vice-captain. It's a very proud moment for me and my family. Wayne and I have always worked well together and we will continue to work closely together in our new roles. I would like to thank the manager for putting his trust in me."

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