WAYNE ROONEY has picked out the three things Erik ten Hag has changed to turn Manchester United into title contenders.
The Red Devils appear to be back in genuine contention for a run at the league for the first time in a decade after going through several years of turmoil under different managers.
United legend Rooney was part of the last truly successful squad when United ruled England under Sir Alex Ferguson.
But Ten Hag is making great progress in his mission to drag the club back to where they once belonged with Sunday’s Carabao Cup final coming days after an epic European tussle with Barcelona.
Rooney said three important factors had been altered under the Dutch coach.
He told ESPN: “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.
“He’s exactly what Manchester United have needed for a few years now.
“They’re five points off the top spot (before Arsenal’s win at Leicester), you know there’s still a lot of games to go… so you never know.”
Rooney, 37, also had special praise for Marcus Rashford who is in the best form of his career.
The 25-year-old has 17 goals in his last 18 games and, like Rooney before, wears the no.10 shirt.
BETTING SPECIAL – BEST FOOTBALL BETTING SITES IN THE UK
Rooney, now manager of DC United, said: “He’s doing fantastic. He’s a top player, and he’s shown that early in his career.
“He had a bit of a dip over the last couple of seasons so it’s important to go 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.”
United remain in the hunt for the quadruple in ten Hag’s first season in charge.
They have league leaders Arsenal in their sights, face West Ham in the FA Cup, have Real Betis as their next Europa League opponents.
More immediately, they face Newcastle in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley as they look for their first trophy in almost five years.