Former Chelsea midfielder Craig Burley says the only reason Wayne Rooney has been given the Manchester United captaincy is because Louis van Gaal has ‘nobody else’, claiming the striker is never a leader ‘in a million years’.
Rooney was named the new United skipper by the Dutchman following Tuesday’s pre-season finale against Valencia, when he lead the side to a 2-1 win, with Darren Fletcher set to serve as the club’s vice-captain.
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 but, after experimenting with the likes of Tom Cleverley and Fletcher in the role during the club’s tour of the USA, the England international eventually became the front-runner.
Taking over the armband following Nemanja Vidic’s summer departure to Inter Milan, Rooney is also tipped to be handed the job for the national side, following Steven Gerrard’s retirement, but Burley believes far too much importance has been placed on the position.
‘You know why he’s captain? Because he’s [van Gaal] got nobody else,’ he told ESPN.
‘He’s got no natural leaders in his team and neither did David Moyes. Rooney’s not a captain.
‘In fact, who cares who the captain is? There’s an infatuation, certainly in England or in the UK, about who captains a team, and I think it’s a load of nonsense.
‘But everyone’s got a different opinion. My one is there’s too much made in the media by some about who’s going to captain a team. It seems almost more important than the team itself.
‘And Rooney’s never a captain in a million years.’