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Irish Independent
Irish Independent
Ian Whittell

Wayne Rooney: Under-pressure Solskjaer must win trophies soon at Manchester United

Wayne Rooney has warned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, his former team-mate at Old Trafford, that he will be under pressure to deliver silverware for Manchester United next season.

The United legend managed his Derby County side against Solskjaer’s United in a pre-season friendly, which the Premier League giants won 2-1 at Pride Park yesterday, courtesy of goals from Tahith Chong and Facundo Pellistri.

With the new campaign less than four weeks away, Rooney believes his former club must win honours, especially given the £73m (€85m) investment in Jadon Sancho and with further signings set to come.

“I think there will be a lot of pressure, which there should be with Manchester United,” Rooney said. “Sancho coming in, there are rumoured to be a few more players. They are in a period where the fans will be wanting success, silverware, and Ole and his coaching staff will be under pressure to deliver that.

“(Manchester) City this year, Chelsea Champions League winners, Liverpool last year, there are some very good teams, but you can see with Manchester United they are getting gradually better. I think they will be in a place where they really will challenge next season.”

Rooney’s own preparations have been in stark contrast to United’s. Derby, who narrowly avoided relegation to League One last season, remain in a dire financial position and are seeking new owners.

“It’s a challenge,” Rooney said. “You’re constantly trying to get answers, but I’m not getting what I want and what the club want. I have to focus on the players, otherwise I’d be wasting my time on the other side of it. Something has to happen. For instance, if nothing changes, I haven’t got one centre-back.

“I said at the end of the season, I will do my best for this club. This club have given me an opportunity to go into management, I’ll do all I can to get the team ready for this season . . . but of course, I need help, I need that support.

Jesse Lingard has been assured by Solskjaer that his future lies with United after his impressive end to last season for West Ham and England.

The forward joined David Moyes’s side on loan in January and his form caught the eye of Gareth Southgate, who included him in his initial England squad for Euro 2020.

Lingard impressed against Derby and Solskjaer said: “Jesse has come back, been bright, and there’s nothing better than seeing players want to fight for their place.

“What he did towards the end of last season, that’s the true Jesse, that’s what we know he’s capable of. I think we saw towards the end that we lacked some options at times and Jesse is in the plans at the moment.”

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