LONDON: Louis Van Gaal has appointed England striker Wayne Rooney as his club captain at Manchester United after the final pre-season friendly brought a 2-1 win over Valencia.

Rooney, also favoured to take the national side armband after Steven Gerrard’s international retirement, succeeds Nemanja Vidic after the defender’s departure to Internazionale. Midfielder Darren Fletcher, back after illness, has been appointed vice-captain.

Rooney said: “It is a huge honour for me – and for my family – to be named captain of this great club. It is a role I will perform with great pride.

“Team spirit has always been very high in our dressing room and I am very grateful to the manager for the faith he has shown in me. I look forward to leading the team out on Saturday at our first match of the new season.”

Van Gaal was thought to have cooled on his original idea of appointing Robin Van Persie because of the striker’s fragile fitness.

The Dutchman said: “For me the choice of captain is always very important. Wayne has shown a great attitude towards everything he does.

“I have been very impressed by his professionalism and his attitude to training and to my philosophy. He is a great inspiration to the younger members of the team and I believe he will put his heart and soul into his captaincy role.”