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Wayne Rooney can lead Manchester United for years to come, says Bryan Robson

The United legend has also highlighted just what role the captain plays in the side.

Manchester United legend Bryan Robson believes Wayne Rooney will develop into a top-class captain, according to the club’s official website.

Rooney was named captain by new manager Louis van Gaal, as well as being England captain, and has excelled in the role for his club, gaining not only the praise of his manager but his team-mates as well.

More than anything, the forward has impressed with his leadership during his first year as captain, and Robson, who was also both United and England captain, says he isn’t surprised by the striker’s success in the role.

"It doesn't surprise me," he said.

"Wayne had some problems early on in his career when he lost his temper and was sent off a few times. But he learned through that period and, since the manager gave him the responsibility of the captaincy, Wayne has taken that on board. He's going to be a good captain for a few years to come."

Rooney’s first year as captain proved to be a far from easy one as the side initially struggled under Dutchman van Gaal, who persistently chopped and changed his side and formations at the beginning of the season. Rooney was being used in an unfamiliar midfield role and struggled.

However, the boss soon settled on his tactics and United enjoyed a fine run of form, culminating in a return to the Champions League at the first time of asking. And Robson says the main job of the captain is to encourage his team when they need it most.

“The main thing you have got to do with your team-mates as a captain is encourage them when you see they need encouragement,” he added.

"It worked for Wayne though when he did a speech before the Tottenham game, but hopefully the players don't really need that. You have got to motivate yourselves in games like that."

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