Wayne Rooney has reflected on what makes players like him tick, which he credits to his English roots and approach to football that coaches typically have here.
He remembers when, as a teenager, he used to have arguments in the dressing room with Gary Neville and Sir Alex Ferguson, which motivated him to improve.
Rooney acknowledges that this style wouldn’t necessarily help some of the foreign players though, citing Nani as an example who Ferguson was softer on.
Manchester United had a lot of British players and now it’s a lot of foreign players, so I don’t know how they would react to some of the old ways of football management. It was normal for us, though, and with England, players need to take responsibility again.
I’ve come in and had a go at players and I wouldn’t mind at all if one had a go back at me. If a manager comes in and has a go — yes, it has an impact. If a player isn’t playing well, he needs to be told or he’ll think his performance can’t be that bad.
I think it’s good when a manager is like that. We’re all international footballers, there is no harm in it. Sometimes you need to upset a team-mate. I think you should keep on top of players, keep going at them. It’s not nice when the manager or a team-mate speaks to you like that.
I know how I feel. My first thought is, “Right, I’ll show you”. I’ve told players with England and Manchester United that just because I’m captain it doesn’t mean they can’t have a go at me. I’ve been told I’m not making the right runs. I don’t mind that. Every player has a voice.
I was in a dressing room with Gary Neville and Roy Keane. I was 19 having rows with Gary, even with Alex Ferguson. That’s how it should be. Sir Alex was really clever like that. He knew who he could have a go at, who it was best to leave alone. He always knew it brought the best out of me. It wouldn’t work with Nani.