REUTERS - New Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has given England striker Wayne Rooney the role of team captain and made Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher his vice-captain.
“It is a huge honour for me – and for my family – to be named captain of this great club,” Rooney told United’s website (www.manutd.com) after Van Gaal’s side beat Valencia 2-1 in a pre-season friendly at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
”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,” added Rooney referring to the opening Premier League fixture against Swansea City at Old Trafford.
Former Netherlands coach Van Gaal, who took charge of United last month, said Rooney had the capacity to galvanise the youngsters in the squad.
”For me it’s always very important the choice of captain,“ added the Dutchman. ”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.
“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,” said Van Gaal.
“Darren Fletcher will become the vice-captain. Darren is a natural leader and will captain the team when Wayne isn’t playing.”
Rooney, 28, joined United from Everton 10 years ago while Fletcher, 30, has spent his entire professional career at Old Trafford.
Writing by Tony Jimenez, editing by Ken Ferris