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English Premier League 2016-17

Words speak louder than actions: Wayne Rooney praises Jose Mourinho after testimonial

The United and England captain was talking after he marked his testimonial with a goalless draw against Everton, his team’s final preparation before Sunday’s Community Shield meeting with champions Leicester City at Wembley

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 1:30pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 7:51pm

Wayne Rooney has described Jose Mourinho’s approach to life as Manchester United manager as low-key, but insists the new Old Trafford chief has a fierce will to win.

The United and England captain was talking after he marked his testimonial with a goalless draw against Everton, his team’s final preparation before Sunday’s Community Shield meeting with champions Leicester City.

It was also the first Old Trafford game in which Mourinho, United’s fourth manager in five turbulent seasons, has taken charge of the club.

Two of his predecessors, Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, were in the stand to show their appreciation for Rooney’s 12 years at the club and the striker insisted that Mourinho has yet to adopt the same confrontational style as Fergie.

“He’s not someone who is going to come in - at the moment he hasn’t anyway - and start throwing things,” said Rooney.

“You never know when the season starts. He’s competitive and wants to win every game, whether it’s a friendly tonight or the Charity Shield on Sunday.

“He obviously gets his message across. He wants to win but he’s not a real big shouter.

“He expects a lot from his players and just from him talking he has got that aura about him where you know exactly the message he’s getting across to you.”

Ferguson, of course, earned a fierce reputation with tall tales of him having often thrown “tea cups” in anger in the United dressing room when things were not to his liking.

Mourinho may not have the same fearsome approach but, according to Rooney, he is every bit as much a winner as Ferguson.

“He wants to win. He wanted to win tonight,” said Rooney. “He re-iterated that at half-time. Playing for Manchester United, even if it’s a friendly game you want to win.

“Unfortunately we didn’t but it’s something myself and my family will remember.”

A drab game had little to entertain the 58,597 crowd, who will help Rooney raise a reported £5 million (HK$51.7m) for charity, and, as has been the case throughout the preseason games, Mourinho used 22 players during the 90 minutes.

The pairing between Rooney and new signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic lasted less than an hour, although there were glimpses of its potential.

“It was a good performance but also minutes on the pitch,” said Rooney. “That’s only a second game for a few of the players in preseason so it was important we got a few minutes.

“In the first half I thought we played some good stuff and created some chances. Second half was a bit stop-start with all the changes but there are positives we can take out the game tonight and certainly things we can work on.”

Everton manager Ronald Koeman, who completed the £7.1 million (HK$73.4m) signing of Aston Villa midfielder Idrissa Gueye on the day before the testimonial, was not impressed with his own team’s efforts at Old Trafford.

“First of all, Idrissa is a player we need, a midfield player who is a little bit different to other midfielders,” he said.

“Tonight, we had good organisation in the team but I expect quality on the ball. Tonight our ball possession wasn’t the level I expect. You need to be more confident if you’re playing against Manchester United.”