Ander Herrera insists Wayne Rooney remains a crucial influence in the Manchester United dressing room despite doubts about the captain’s future.
Rooney, 31, is just two goals behind Sir Bobby Charlton as the club’s all-time record goal scorer, but has lost his starting place under Jose Mourinho after a dip in form over the last 12 months.
In an interview with The Guardian and The Daily Mail, Herrera explained why Rooney is still a vital player at Old Trafford.
“Wayne’s been playing at the highest level from 16,” Herrera said. “I didn’t reach the first division until I was 20; he’s got four years on me. All that adds up. Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday, Wednesday, national team, Euros, World Cup, competing, winning, again and again.
“Fifteen years at England’s biggest club has an impact; people need to understand that. And he never disconnects, even when he’s not playing. He’s there, talking about how we can improve.
“This is someone who is just three goals away from overtaking Bobby Charlton as the club’s [record] goal scorer. And yet when we play in the Europa League and the team win two penalties he gives the ball to Paul [Pogba] and Anthony [Martial] because they need the confidence. That is where you see what type of person he is.
“You see it in the dressing room all the time, too. If he is not playing he’s still there talking about how to improve, how we’re playing, what we can do to win. He has never disconnected. When I retire from football one of the things that will stay with me is Wayne’s class.
“Last year he rescued us at times. How do you say, ‘got our chestnuts out the fire?’ He did it in lots of games, and this year he will do the same.”
Herrera and Rooney are set to come up against each other at Wembley on Tuesday when Spain and England meet, with the former Athletic Bilbao man set to make his senior international debut.
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