Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney growing as captain through ‘times you have to speak up’

'There are times when you have to speak up' says Wayne Rooney of captaining Manchester United, and seizing on those moments is allowing him to grow into his role, he says.

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney reacts during his side's win in the Manchester derby over City on Sunday. Peter Powell / EPA / April 12, 2015
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Wayne Rooney is relishing the responsibility that comes with wearing the captain's armband at Manchester United and praised his teammates for responding so well to his leadership.

Rooney's first season as skipper is looking set to end on a high after last week's 4-2 win over Manchester City lifted his third-placed side four points clear of their closest rivals in the Premier League.

But the 29-year-old has been forced to issue a series of impromptu dressing-room speeches in order to maintain the club’s positive momentum.

“There are times when you have to speak up,” Rooney said. “I did that before the Tottenham game because I felt I had to.

“We had had a bad defeat in the FA Cup against Arsenal and I just wanted to reiterate to the players what our targets were for the remaining games of the season.

“The players responded to that and we have had some good results.”

Rooney was installed as captain by new manager Louis van Gaal at the start of the campaign and said he has learned from the big names who have previously worn the armband at Old Trafford, including current assistant manager Ryan Giggs.

“You can obviously look how people have done it before you,” Rooney added.

“Giggsy wasn’t captain here full-time in my time at United but the things he’s done have been a big help and still now. There were also leaders like Roy Keane, Gary Neville and David Beckham. There was Steven Gerrard and John Terry (for England), who were fantastic captains.

“There are different styles and different ways other people have done it. But I have to be my own person and do what I feel is the best way for me to captain the team. That is all I try to do.”

Rooney is set to lead United back to the United States this summer after the club were confirmed among 10 participants in the International Champions Cup.

Exact schedules and dates are yet to be announced but the tournament will take place between July 11 and August 5 – three days before the start of the new Premier League campaign.

It was not immediately evident whether United or fellow participants Chelsea had gained any special dispensation with Van Gaal clearly keen to avoid a repeat of last season’s three-week, five-city campaign.

United won last season’s tournament by beating Liverpool in the final, while their opening match against Real Madrid was played in front of a crowd of over 109,000.

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