Neville rates Rooney choice

England coach Gary Neville has backed Wayne Rooney to be a successful captain of Manchester United.

The Three Lions striker was named as United’s new skipper by boss Louis Van Gaal earlier this week, as he prepares for his first campaign in charge at Old Trafford.

And former United defender Neville believes Rooney has all of the right attributes to lead the Reds to success this season, having both played with and coached him.

Wayne Rooney is the new Manchester United captain

Rooney has captained Manchester United throughout pre-season

“There has been a sharp decline in leadership in football, but Rooney has all the attributes,” claimed Neville, in his column for The Daily Telegraph.

“By ‘leaders’ I mean people who are prepared not only to hold themselves accountable but hold their team-mates accountable too.

“Rooney is one of a dying breed of footballers who is willing to call his team-mates out. 

“He can take criticism but also hand it out. His approach is the traditional one of not taking criticism personally – and expecting team-mates not to take it personally either.”

United will be hoping to enjoy a better campaign this time around, after finishing in seventh spot last term in what was a season of change following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and subsequent appointment, and departure, of replacement David Moyes.

But with Van Gaal arriving at the club after leading the Netherlands to the World Cup semi-finals in the summer, Neville believes the Dutchman has made the right decision on his captain.

“Van Gaal will have looked at Rooney and thought: this is a player who is not too proud to listen to criticism and not too shy to dish it out,” he added. 

“That is captaincy material, as Van Gaal outlined in his press conference ahead of the Swansea match. The next stage for Rooney is to think like a captain.

“When I think back to his early days at United I remember his personality and cheekiness.

“Rooney was the only player who would dare pull up a seat at the coaches’ table in the canteen and ask Sir Alex Ferguson: “Am I playing tomorrow, boss?” The manager would cuff him about the head and say: “That’s nothing to do with you.”