Wayne Rooney was mentored by the legendary Ryan Giggs once upon a time, and the Manchester United captain is hoping to play a similar role for the benefit of the current crop of young players.
Rooney is among Manchester United’s most senior players and is currently the captain of the club as well as the England national team. Even though his form has been called into question this season, the 30-year-old remains an influential figure in the dressing room.
“Of course I try to help them,” Rooney was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror when asked about his role as a mentor in the dressing room. “We’re all trying to win together. When I joined the club at 18 Giggsy was about 30 and I saw the help and advice he gave me at that age.”
Although Rooney has been injured for a major part of this season, a number of other players have come to the fore, taking up the bulk of the goalscoring responsibility for the team. One of these players is 18-year-old Marcus Rashford.
“Obviously it’s early days, especially for Rashford, he’s a young lad and hasn’t played many games but the impact he has had has been huge for us in the last couple of months,” said Rooney.
Yet another player who has been scoring a lot of goals for the Red Devils is Frenchman Anthony Martial, who recently set up one goal and scored an injury-time winner to take Manchester United into the final of the FA Cup.
“Anthony has settled in quickly. Obviously with the start he had he wasn’t going to go on like that for the whole season but he’s settled down, is coming up with some big goals for us,” added Rooney. “You can see the enjoyment in his game and a great goal has put us in the final. Playing at Man United, whether you’re 18 or 30, you have to take some sort of responsibility.”
Rooney’s evolving role
Wayne Rooney arrived at Manchester United from Everton as an 18 year old, and has since grown to become one of the best players in England. He is now the second highest goalscorer in the history of the Red Devils, having netted 242 times — just seven behind the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton.
In the match against Everton on Saturday, Rooney was seen operating in a much deeper role than usual. In fact, he was playing as a central midfielder in the 4-1-4-1 formation that manager Louis van Gaal had opted for.
Rooney has played as an attacking midfielder and on the wings, apart from his natural position as a striker. However, central midfield is not a position where he has been fielded too often. Ryan Giggs had also been shifted from the wings to the midfield later on in his career by Sir Alex Ferguson, and it will be interesting to see how Rooney adapts to these new roles — both on and off the pitch.