Thursday 18 January 2018

Roo excited by Jose role

Wayne Rooney, pictured in England training ahead of tonight’s friendly against Portugal at Wembley. Photo: Reuters
Wayne Rooney, pictured in England training ahead of tonight’s friendly against Portugal at Wembley. Photo: Reuters

Wayne Rooney insists it is 'exciting times' for Manchester United following Jose Mourinho 's appointment.

Mourinho was confirmed as the club's new manager on Friday and Memphis Depay, Ander Herrera and Daley Blind have already reacted positively to the Portuguese's arrival.

Mourinho was keen on signing Rooney while Real Madrid and then Chelsea coach, and should finally get the chance to work with the captain next month.

"He's one of the best managers in the world," Rooney said at a press conference ahead of England's friendly with Portugal tonight. "It is exciting times for myself and all the other Manchester United players."

Meanwhile, Rooney has been taken aback by Marcus Rashford's attitude and aptitude since bursting onto the scene, and is confident the "incredible" 18-year-old will flourish if left to just play.

There have been few fairytale rises at the rate of the precocious striker's, having gone from a first Manchester United appearance to scoring on his England debut in the space of 92 days.

An FA Cup winners' medal and new contract at Old Trafford came either side of last Friday's strike against Australia, which went some way to securing his place in Roy Hodgson's final squad for Euro 2016.

Rooney knows a thing or two about shining at a young age and believes Rashford deserves his place in the 23-man group, despite his tender years and inexperience.

"I think the way he took, first of all, to coming into Manchester United's team and the way he has performed until the end of the season has been incredible, really, for his age," the 30-year-old said.

"I think he certainly showed what he can do in his first game for England and in a couple of minutes got his first goal.

"I think what's pleasing about him is his attitude is first class and that showed around the hotel, on the training pitch.

"In my opinion he deserves it so he could be a real positive for us."

Rooney was in a similar position in Portugal at Euro 2004, when he shone as an unfettered 18-year-old as England made it to the quarter-finals.

His rapid ascent was, remarkably, relatively slow in comparison to Rashford's, and the England captain hopes the teenage star is allowed to blossom.

"Personally it was a good tournament for myself," Rooney said, reflecting on Euro 2004. "With Marcus now in this tournament, for me he doesn't need much advice. Let him play."

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