wayne rooney

Rooney is Man Ua��s natural leader . . . 10 lessons from English Premier League opening matches

Hard-hitting Sportsmail columnist Adrian Durham picks out 10 things he has learned from the opening weekend of the Barclays Premier League season . . .
1) Wayne Rooney will give everything, even in a poor Manchester United side. This is a player who never pretends to be injured, a player who, when the club isna��t being run the way he a�� and all of us a�� would expect a big club to be run, doesna��t down tools but instead gives his all for 90 minutes when called upon.

His record for United is phenomenal, and if his team-mates had taken his lead they would have beaten Swansea. Unfortunately some of those players are not up to the standard required.

The visionary Rooney saw this coming some time ago. Hea��s better than you think, and brighter than you might suspect as well.

He will go down rightly as a United legend a�� hea��s been one of a handful of players omnipresent through the biggest period of sustained success in the cluba��s history.

His task on the pitch now as captain is to lead a great club from the brink of mid-table mediocrity, back to the top.

I cana��t think of a better man for the job.
2) Jack Colback is England class a�� his set-pieces are phenomenal. And hea��s got bottle as well.
This kid isna��t stupid. Hea��s a Geordie whoa��s well aware of the passions on Tyneside and Wearside. These fans dona��t hold back when it comes to rivalries. Even punching a horse isna��t off limits when ita��s Newcastle vs Sunderland.

So for a Newcastle fan to make the move from Sunderland to St Jamesa�� Park, and on a free transfer a�� well, youa��ve got to admire Colbacka��s balls.

And check out his Newcastle debut. Sure they lost, but youa��ve got to have a small-minded football brain to think there were no positives for Alan Pardew after the match, and Colback was one of them.

Hea��s the Ginger Pirlo, trusted with the set-pieces, and delivering good service with most of them. I like this kid, and I cana��t help thinking that if hea��d come through at Arsenal, Liverpool or even the a�?boutiquea�? academy at Southampton, Colback would have had an England call-up by now.

At Sunderland he was forced to play at full back, and a succession of different managers never got the best out of him consistently until Gus Poyet turned up. Hea��s a central midfielder who can pass, and who can deliver a deadly set-piece. Go and watch him, Roy.

3) Jordan Henderson can be the new Steven Gerrard, and if that seems far-fetched I certainly think hea��s in prime position to be the next Liverpool captain.

I watched Henderson play on the right of midfield for Sunderland once and every ball in from the wing was dangerous (hats off to Kevin Ball and the rest at the Academy of Light a�� theya��re clearly doing something very right).

At Liverpool, hea��s a certain starter in central midfield a�� thata��s how good he is. The pass we saw on Sunday to gift Raheem Sterling the chance to score the opening goal at Anfield, smelled of Steven Gerrard.

Dragging a beaten team off the floor to win a Champions League final after being 3-0 down at half time? No tick yet and leta��s be realistic, that is unlikely ever to be repeated. Thata��s what makes Gerrard so special.

Henderson might not be as good as Gerrard, but he could come very close.
4) Watching that first goal for Swansea at the weekend was like watching Phil Jones and Chris Smalling wave a white flag on their Manchester United careers and drift away to settle for a decent career at Sunderland or West Brom.

Before Ki Sung-yeung fired home, Smalling was way too slow to spot the danger Gylfi Sigurdsson posed and Jones was out-muscled by Wilfried Bony a�� not once, but twice!
What an honour for the pair a�� to be trusted in the opening game of the season, the first game of his reign at Old Trafford, by Louis van Gaal. But neither of them did anything to stop the criticsa�� claims that United need two new centre halves getting louder and louder. Indeed I suspect most fans are in agreement.

Jones turns 23 this season and this is his fourth season at Old Trafford; Smalling is 25 in November, he signed for United in 2010. By now it should be a no-brainer that they replace Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand. But they havena��t done enough to convince anyone: they are neither ready nor good enough.

The penny might drop and one or both might grasp the task at hand and make it impossible for van Gaal to leave them out. But if that doesna��t happen, I cana��t help thinking they will regret wasting a fantastic opportunity.

Jones and Smalling need to be solid, commanding, and excellent. And they are none of those things at the moment.

5) So while patience with the United pair is wearing thin, the opening weekend of the Premier League season calmed some of my concerns about Englanda��s lack of options at centre half. And two foreign managers have solved our problems a�� north London pair Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino.

I was at Upton Park to watch Eric Diera��s Spurs debut, and he showed how cool and calm he can be on the ball. He was switched to right back after Kyle Naughtona��s red card a�� ita��s a position he has played before, as well as just in front of the back four.

But he is a centre half, and he looks the real deal. He was composed all the way through the game, and right at the death he held his run and then finished superbly to give Spurs three points.

After full-time I got on the back of a motorbike and zoomed over to the Emirates to watch Arsenal beat Crystal Palace. The one player who really caught my eye was the Gunnersa�� centre half Calum Chambers.

Unflustered, unhurried and unbelievable that he is still only a teenager.
Ita��s a tremendous spot from Arsene Wenger, and a bargain when you consider how much Manchester United spent on Luke Shaw.

I spoke recently to Chambersa�� former England Under 19 coach Noel Blake, now at Blackpool. Blake was the first to play him at centre half, but told me he feels a Philipp Lahm-style midfield role would eventually be his best position.

Gary Cahill is a certain starter for England, and rightly so. But youngsters like Chambers, Dier and John Stones at Everton a�� who can all play multiple positions a�� are all looking good for the future of the national team.

6) Does Sam Allardyce know what hea��s doing? He confused himself as his West Ham side lost 1-0 at home to rivals Spurs to get their season off to a disappointing start. He said after the game: a�?We did not take our chances.a�?

Sometimes that happens, but chances are more likely to be missed when you leave your two best strikers on the bench. Enner Valencia may have been carrying an injury, but if hea��s fit enough for the bench hea��s surely fit enough to start, and clearly a better option than both Carlton Cole and Ricardo Vaz Te.

And Mauro Zarate will wonder why he bothered coming back to England. David Gold and David Sullivan clearly like him a�� theya��ve signed him twice now.

It might not be in the coaching manuals, but as a manager, if you want to convert chances you pick your best strikers. Simple stuff, Sam.

And it will probably reduce the chances of your team being booed off after the final whistle.
7) Paul Lambert is a far better manager than he gets credit for. The 1-0 win for Aston Villa at Stoke City on Saturday upset a few accumulators, and added to my belief that there is something special about this guy.

Villaa��s investment in the first team hasna��t been as sizeable as it was under Martin Oa��Neill, and while ita��s been hard for Villa fans to watch over the past few seasons, it could have been a lot harder but for Lambert.

While the financial restrictions would have seen a lot of managers with less fire in their belly walk away, Lambert has respected the ownera��s honesty with him and got on with the job. But for him, Villa might be playing in the Championship with their Birmingham City rivals.

Let me give you three examples of why Lambert deserves respect: Firstly, the financial situation meant some players had to be kept out in the cold with a view to getting them off the wage bill.

But somehow Lambert kept those players onside, and as we saw from Alan Huttona��s performance at Stoke, the manager can still get a tune out of players who could be forgiven for not wanting to play for him.

Secondly, last summer, Christian Benteke looked set for a A?25 million move to Spurs. Lambert asked him to stay at home when Villa went on a pre-season tour of Germany after the striker had asked for a transfer.

But when he returned, Lambert had a a�?full and franka�? discussion with the Belgian striker, who immediately signed a new improved contract at Villa Park. That is some conversation Lambert had with Benteke.

And finally, Lambert will give youth a chance a�� he may be in a position where he has to of course. But Lambert will not make them vulnerable. Watch young Jack Grealish flourish.
8) Ita��s a big season for Saido Berahino, and hea��s started well. The West Brom youngster impressed me during a loan spell at my club Peterborough United a couple of seasons ago, and I expected him to push on.

I was astonished when news of a dressing room fight emerged at The Hawthorns last season. Even worse was the picture of Berahino apparently inhaling nitrous oxide in a car.

New coach Alan Irvine says the striker has been a model professional, and trusted him in the starting line up on Saturday. He responded with two goals.

Berahinoa��s job now is to keep it up, and prove he is worthy of a regular place in the West Brom starting line up in the Premier League.

I hope he stays professional. Ita��s totally up to him now, and if he focuses on football, he will be fine.

9) This weekend taught me that unless youa��ve got some special, or specialist, players at your club, three at the back is ridiculous. No wonder Van Gaal abandoned it during Uniteda��s defeat by Swansea.

You dona��t need an extra centre back on the pitch to release your full backs/wing backs. Everton prove my point. Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines are both serious attacking threats for Everton, who play two a�� not three a�� centre halves. Theya��re athletic, which allows them to get up and down throughout the game.

Can you imagine Roberto Martinez putting a third centre back in the team? What a waste of a place in the line-up!

In the modern game, the defensive midfielder a�� holding midfielder a�� is effectively that third centre back. If youa��ve got the right player in that position a�� Everton have Gareth Barry a�� then your full backs can push on.

The Queens Park Rangers experiment is going to be fascinating. They have some players who could flourish in a three-at-the-back system (Rio Ferdinand and Mauricio Isla in particular), and a coach in Glenn Hoddle who is an expert. If the weaker links can get up to speed with the system, Rangers might just make it work.

A better plan might be for QPR to give Ferdinand a new role a�� a return to the position he played as a kid a�� in midfield in front of two centre halves in a back four. That could really get the best out of their star signing.

10) After Cesc Fabregas shaped to shoot, but instead passed a perfect through ball to Andre Schurrle for Chelseaa��s second goal at Burnley, I got out of my seat and applauded. I was in my kitchen at the time eating dinner with the family, but I still stood up and applauded.

I love good football, and not much gets me out of my seat these days, but that was a touch of genius.

It took my breath away.
Fabregas was amazing. If he does that most of the season hea��ll make Arsene Wenger regret not taking him back when he had the opportunity this summer.

If you love football, you had to admire what Fabregas did there. Even the most hard-boiled Arsenal fan would have loved that. – AFP.