With Manchester United’s new permanent captain still to be announced following Nemanja Vidic’s summer departure, club legend Peter Schmeichel has backed Wayne Rooney to lead the side going forward.
Manager Louis van Gaal handed Rooney the captain's armband for Monday’s International Champions Cup final win over Liverpool, having already experimented with Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley during the club’s pre-season tour of the USA, and there are strong indications that the forward could now be in pole position to land the role.
Van Gaal’s appointment in May had originally led to suggestions that the former Netherlands boss would choose his national team captain Robin van Persie for the job, but Schmeichel, who himself skippered United on several occasions, including in the 1999 Champions League final, believes that the Englishman has all the right credentials to make him the leading candidate.
‘Wayne Rooney has been for years the most consistent Manchester United player and I totally agree with him being captain,’ he told Sky Sports.
‘I thought he should have been named captain long ago. He’s the natural choice. What you want from your captain is to be in the team every game and to play well, and I think Wayne has done that for many, many years.
‘He realises he’s important to the team. He knows that if he has to play in midfield then it’s for the team. That’s what you see with experience and maturity and I think he’s the natural choice.’
With Steven Gerrard also calling time on his England career this summer, Rooney has been further backed to take on the captaincy of the national side by various teammates and high-profile figures, but whether all the newfound responsibility would serve him well on the pitch remains to be seen.