London, Aug 1 (IANS) With Manchester United adding several star players to their squad along with celebrated manager Jose Mourinho, captain Wayne Rooney is confident that the former English Premier League (EPL) champions are poised to regain their past glory.
Manchester United have added veteran Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Eric Bailly and the talented Henrikh Mkhitaryan to their squad while France’s star midfielder Paul Pogba appears set to complete a high profile move from reigning Italian champions Juventus.
“I think the players feel this is more like the old Manchester United. It’s not just the new signings, we’ve got Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford from last season who made such an impact,” Rooney told the Daily Mail.
“We’re in a very good spot now. We think we can challenge for the Premier League and we want to put a marker down in the Community Shield with Leicester,” he added.
Rooney asserted that Pogba, who left Old Trafford for Juventus in 2012, will energise the United squad further and the France midfielder has a point to prove with United.
“He had great ability, some of the things he could do, and he’s gone up a level since he left us. I hope he is going to want to return to United and prove he’s a top-class player. I’m sure he’ll feel there is unfinished business,” Rooney said.
Mourinho, who took over as United manager recently, has asserted that he will reinstall Rooney in his former role as a striker, rather than utilise the England forward as a midfielder — a position he played in during the previous season.
Rooney feels that Mourinho’s plans should give him the freedom he enjoys and have led to a switch in his mentality.
“When he came to see me before the tournament, I came away very happy. He wants us to play with a lot of freedom, a lot of rotation in the forward positions, lots of opportunities to score goals, and I think I can do that, score the goals to help us be successful,” he said.
“Getting that mentality back, from being a midfield player to being a goalscorer again is what I’ve been working on all pre-season.”
Rooney also asserted that he sees glimpses of legendary former manager Alex Fergussen in Mourinho, adding that he has been impressed by the training methods of the new United boss.
“I’ve seen that in him already. The way he speaks to individuals, the way he talks to the group, the way he makes players feel so confident. I’ve heard him talk to players, and you know that player will now be feeling on top of the world. He’s done it with me, he’s done it with all of us — that is one of his qualities,” Roney remarked.