Wayne Rooney rates Man Utd’s chances of catching Arsenal and hails ‘top player’ Marcus Rashford


Wayne Rooney has been impressed by Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United (Picture: ESPN)

Wayne Rooney has hailed Erik ten Hag’s impact at Manchester United and refused to rule out the possibility of his former club winning the Premier League this season.

United go into this weekend’s round of fixtures sitting third in the table, three points behind defending champions Manchester City and five behind surprise leaders Arsenal.

The Red Devils have largely struggled since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and finished just sixth last season, 35 points behind Man City.

But Manchester United are a different proposition under former Ajax boss Ten Hag and Old Trafford legend Rooney insists they should be viewed as title challengers.

‘He’s exactly what Manchester United have needed for a few years now,’ Rooney said of Ten Hag in an interview with ESPN.

‘I’ve been down to the training ground quite a few times, especially in the [MLS] off-season when I was back home in England, and spoke to quite a few of the players.

‘I know the players are enjoying working under him, which is always important, but he demands a lot of his players.

United could still win the quadruple in Erik ten Hag's first season

United could still win the quadruple in Erik ten Hag’s first season (Picture: Getty)

‘I think he’s changed the mindset and the confidence and belief of the players, that they’re actually a good team, and I think people are starting to see that this season, and they’re in a good position.

‘They’re five points off the top spot, you know there’s still a lot of games to go… so you never know.’

While Manchester United’s title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City play league games this weekend, Ten Hag’s side are preparing for Sunday’s EFL Cup final against Newcastle United.

If United beat Newcastle – who are fifth in the Premier League but without first-choice goalkeeper Nick Pope – it will be the club’s first trophy since 2017.

One of the key players in Manchester United’s success this season has been Marcus Rashford, who has scored 27 goals in 42 appearances in all competitions, including 16 in 18 games since the World Cup.

Before this campaign, Rashford appeared to be stagnating at Old Trafford and was even considering leaving his boyhood club, but Rooney has been delighted by his revival.

Marcus Rashford is enjoying his best ever season at Old Trafford

Marcus Rashford is enjoying his best ever season at Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)

‘He’s doing fantastic. He’s a top player, and he’s shown that early in his career,’ Manchester United’s record goalscorer added.

‘He had a bit of a dip over the last couple of seasons so it’s important to go back to doing – back to his strengths.

‘Being direct, being aggressive, being confident in front of goal, and I felt he wasn’t confident for a while actually, but this season he’s back to his best.’

Casemiro names the ‘best player’ at Manchester United ahead of EFL Cup final

MORE : Man Utd’s Lisandro Martinez names Arsenal star as his toughest opponent

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