Wayne Rooney names Man Utd boss ‘better tactically’ than Fergie | Football | Sport

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Manchester United icon Wayne Rooney has risked reigniting his feud with Sir Alex Ferguson by claiming the Scot wasn’t the best tactical manager he worked with at the club. Ferguson’s 27-year stint at United has long been cemented in folklore, with his huge trophy haul including 13 Premier League titles and two Champions League wins. And for the last nine of his seasons in charge, Rooney was a key player for him having signed him from Everton as a teenager in 2004.

The two notoriously fell-out though over Rooney’s apparent desire to join rivals Manchester City, although a move never materialised. Following Ferguson’s departure came an ill-fated year in charge from David Moyes, before the highly rated Louis van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford for the 2015/16 campaign.

That reign also fell short of expectations, despite the eccentric Dutchman leading the club back into the Champions League before winning the FA Cup in his second season. That success wasn’t enough for him to keep his job though, sacked on the same weekend as his Wembley triumph.

And speaking on the Stick to Football podcast, Rooney recalled both his arrival and influence on the training field: “I remember Louis van Gaal when he came in – I thought tactically he was the best I’ve worked with. It was the stuff off the pitch that was difficult for the players in how he worked, but I remember him coming in and saying he wants his centre forward to have 15, 20 touches a game – that’s exactly what Haaland does. I always wanted to play and enjoy the game and score goals.

He also touched on why he believed Van Goal’s reign didn’t work out as planned, despite his obvious football intelligence. “Defensively, I thought Louis van Gaal had us set up brilliantly at Manchester United, and we were difficult to play against,” added Rooney. “In possession, I think that’s where the players with more flair struggled as he wanted us to stay in our shape, which takes away the freedom of the attacking players.”

Rooney went on to declare he “loved” training sessions under Van Goal, but also revealed to his strange post-training ploy of holding players back for hours afterwards. He also insisted the 72-year-old defiantly stuck to his guns after the FA Cup win even though he knew his sacking was imminent

“I went over to him and told him to enjoy the (post-match) party because we had won the cup, but he knew he was getting sacked but wasn’t told by the club. The next day after the party at breakfast, he gave us his plans for pre-season, so he stuck to his job right to the end.”

Rooney, who scored a club record 253 goals in his 13-year stint with the club, also expressed sympathy for Moyes, with senior squad members seemingly indifferent towards him from the outgo. “The players never gave David Moyes a chance at Manchester United. I think it was always going to be tough for him.

“I know David from when he was at Everton, and he was never the same person at Manchester United. Obviously, it was a massive change for him, so I don’t think he did as well as he would’ve liked, but I also think there was a lack of respect from the senior players towards him, and they weren’t having him which was tough for him.”

The ex-England international was in concessionary mood over his spat with Sir Alex though, admitting his transfer request “was the wrong thing to do.” He did however cite concerns over the direction of the club, and claimed he reversed his decision once assurances had been given.

It wasn’t just in term of ex-managers where Rooney made striking comments though. Despite surpassing Bobby Charlton as United’s greatest goalscorer, he’s claimed his numbers could have been yet more impressive had he focused solely on playing as a striker.

“I wouldn’t say I was a natural goal scorer,” he said. “I just wanted to get on the ball. If I was more selfish, I potentially could have scored a lot more goals, but I just wanted to play. The number of times I had midfielders telling me to go away or, ‘I’ll play it through to you, you need to stay up front’.”

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