Rooney inspired by captain Keane
Wayne Rooney hopes to replicate the leadership style of former team-mate and Manchester United legend Roy Keane when he skippers England against San Marino on Friday night.
The Reds striker will lead the Three Lions for the first time in a competitive international in the absence of the suspended Steven Gerrard and injured Frank Lampard.
Though traditionally more of a walker than a talker, 26-year-old Rooney is not hesitant when asked how he intends to captain his country and which former skipper has inspired him most.
“Roy Keane, without a doubt, having played with him for a couple of years and seen how he played on the pitch and dealt with things off it,” Rooney explained. “He was vocal on the pitch and helped me off it. He was a great captain.
“I was lucky enough to play with him and, hopefully, I can gain some of his qualities in my own game. I had a few rollickings off him and we had a few debates. We both wanted to win and sometimes, when you want to win, it’s not always about sitting down and talking quietly.
“You have a go at each other purely to try and get the best out of each other. If you saw the way he was with the other senior players, it was the same as with the younger players.
“He was not afraid to tell everybody how he felt and how he wanted them to perform. He treated everyone the same. He wanted to win and he wanted his team to win. That was a great quality.”
Rooney played alongside the talismanic Keane for just over a season, before the Irishman suddenly left United in the early stages of the 2005/06 campaign. However, Wayne clearly relished his time with the legendary leader.
“I respected him. He was one of the best players in Premier League and Manchester United history. He is the type of player I like – when he had a go at me, I wanted to show him what I could do. I wasn’t fearful. It was about desire and passion.
“I’m not going to change because I’ve got the armband. I’m quite vocal on the pitch. I speak to players and tend to play with determination, which I hope can lift the players and fans. I’ve always tried to help young players.
“It’s a great honour to captain the team and, hopefully, it will be a successful night for us.”