The club’s all-time leading goalscorer claimed that the manager relied on the English ensemble of Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville to manage the team’s camaraderie.
In particular, their role was to ensure new players quickly cohered to the team’s identity and harnessing the individual egos of money-spinning signings such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov.
“We controlled the dressing room ourselves,” Rooney told NBCSN. “Alex Ferguson didn’t really need to control that. The players had the trust of the manager to do that themselves.”
“The likes of Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, myself – players who had Man U in them and wanted the best for that club – would never allow anyone to mess that up.”
“That would never be allowed to happen.”
The comment appeared to be a thinly-veiled swipe at United’s supposedly mutinous squad following the spiteful comments of Paul Pogba and fresh reports over Alexis Sanchez veering for a move away from Manchester.
Mourinho’s side travel to face former club Chelsea on Saturday with the pressure on the United boss somewhat subduing over the international break.
However, if United lose to Maurizio Sarri’s high-flying side, who are still undefeated this Premier League season, the tremors of discontent may well remove the ground from under Mourinho’s feet.
Rooney, meanwhile, is enjoying the American dream after a spectacular start to his MLS career with DC United. The striker has scored ten and assisted seven goals since leaving Everton last summer and spurred the formerly struggling side into an unlikely playoff position.