Wayne Rooney has opened up on Manchester United’s progress under Erik ten Hag last season and has discussed the club’s ownership and Harry Maguire’s future.
United enjoyed an encouraging campaign during Ten Hag’s first season in charge, with the Red Devils securing a top-four finish to secure Champions League qualification and reaching both domestic cup finals.
The first of those saw United beat Newcastle to win the Carabao Cup in February, a win which ended the club’s six-year wait for a major trophy.
Rooney – who won five Premier League titles at Manchester United – believes there were ‘huge improvements’ from the side and believes his former club are ‘on the right path’ to challenging for titles once again.
“There were huge improvements,” Rooney told The Athletic.
“Some really good signings and some good experienced players who helped the team. They’re competing with one of the best teams, probably, of all time in Man City. United are trying to get back challenging for the league title and I do believe they’re on the right path. There is a lot of work to be done but they are taking the right steps to do it.”
United’s summer has been dominated by the club’s takeover situation, with the current situation unclear. The Glazer family announced in November that the club was to be put up for sale, but despite strong interest no breakthrough has been found in takeover talks.
It has left Ten Hag working on a restricted transfer budget, while the Glazers – the club’s deeply unpopular owners – remain in power.
“They have been very successful,” Rooney said on the Glazers. “But it has probably got to a place where the fans really want a change. They want to maybe go in a different direction. It needs that excitement back, not just for the first team but to develop the academy and behind the scenes. I’m sure they will get the credit they deserve for the job they have done, but also they’re going to get the negativity from fans who never seem to acknowledge what they’ve done for the club.
“I’m sure it will be split, but I think a change is needed.”
Rooney also discussed Harry Maguire’s future, with the defender expected to leave the club after being informed that he was being removed as club captain. Rooney believes that the decision makes it difficult for Maguire to continue with the Red Devils and believes it is time for the centre-back to move on.
“To have the armband taken off you, how does he move forward with the club?” Rooney asked. “That shows the manager really doesn’t believe in him. It leaves Harry in a position where he has to think on what he does moving forward. The manager has shown he is not part of the plans. I’m sure Harry will want to go and play — for himself, for his England career — to put himself in the best position to be as successful as he can. The best thing now is probably for him to move.”