Wayne Rooney predicts the “old Manchester United” will be on show again this season under Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho has replaced Louis van Gaal as manager at Old Trafford and has begun a recruitment drive that has seen Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan come on board.
“We’re in a very good spot now, we think we can challenge for the Premier League,” said 30-year-old Rooney.
“I think the players feel this is more like the old Manchester United.”
United, FA Cup winners in Van Gaal’s last game in May, kick off the new domestic season in next weekend’s Community Shield against Premier League champions Leicester.
And Rooney admits United “want to put a marker down” in that game.
“I know it’s a one-off game, but we want to show we can win a trophy early on – we feel that’s an important event for us,” he said.
In a lengthy interview with the newspaper, Rooney said United’s pursuit of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba would be “a big statement by the club” if successful, and praised the “great work ethic” of mercurial striker Ibrahimovic.
‘To go out as we did was beyond disappointing’
Rooney reflected on England’s desperate display at Euro 2016, saying he would not have made the raft of changes for their final group game with Slovakia which ultimately led to a fateful encounter with Iceland in the last 16.
“No, I wouldn’t have rested six players… it’s more than half the team. It was a gamble and it didn’t pay off,” Rooney said of former England boss Roy Hodgson’s decision.
The England skipper was one of the six shuffled out of the side after a last-gasp win over Wales and was unable to make an impact when he finally did enter the action.
“When I came on against Slovakia it was difficult to change the game, impossible really. I was running around just trying to get the energy back into the team,” he said.
“It was Roy’s decision to make those changes against Slovakia and either way, the team he put out should have been able to win.”
Rooney, England’s record goalscorer with 53 in 115 appearances, added: “I felt we had a good squad. A lot of ability, a lot of talent.
“To then go out as we did, and against Iceland, was beyond disappointing.
“If you leave playing your best, beaten by a better team, I accept that. But we didn’t play.
“We had lost momentum from the Slovakia game and tournament football is about confidence. You get that from winning.”