“I always give everything I have in a game and I leave everything out there on the pitch. I play each game as if it could be my last.”
You’d be forgiven for thinking ex-Manchester United skipper Nemanja Vidic had uttered those words, but you’d also be wrong. Speaking after his move to Old Trafford last August, Argentine defender Marcos Rojo signalled his attitude to supporters quickly and it’s fair to say it went down well.
Since his arrival at United, his bullish attitude isn’t the only resonance supporters have noticed between him and Vidic. Just six months after becoming a Red some are asking the bold question – could Rojo be the next United captain?
It’s a fair suggestion to make and based on the qualities the Argentine has shown this season the potential is all there. The first trait you look for in a Man United captain is an exceptional attitude and there is no doubt Marcos possesses just that. Right from the off Rojo has talked about being thrilled about playing for ‘the best club in the world’ and how he can’t wait to continue his development under Louis van Gaal. He talks the talk, and also walks the walk.
As we all know, having a good work ethic and fantastic attitude is something which can only lead to captaincy if it’s backed up with stellar performances and despite not being a big-name signing, Rojo has certainly delivered that.
The 24-year-old has been a revelation at the back for United and has overshadowed the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Jonny Evans to earn the title of United’s best defender this season by some distance. When injured, he was sorely missed but his return has seen the team notch up one of the best (albeit unorthodox) defensive records in the league whilst his no-nonsense approach and surprising calmness has seen him singled out individually for praise.
In a team that is short of a backbone, it’s refreshing to see a player who is so full blooded as Rojo. Jones has that same characteristic but more over than not is over zealous and turns his greatest asset into a weakness.
Famous United captains of the past have been excellent, determined footballers but a major influence on the team came from their formidable presence on and off the field. Think Roy Keane, Nemanja Vidic and Bryan Robson. A manager can try to instil fear into his players in the dressing room but out on the pitch you need protection and motivation for your team. Could you imagine Rojo storming over to the opposing centre back to keep an academy product out of harms way? Or in no uncertain terms letting a team mate know he’s under performing? I certainly can.
Obviously we shouldn’t get carried away, it has only been six months after all, but in that six months United fans have taken to the aggressive, solid, consistent man that is Rojo. He gets United. It’s hard to describe what that means or how you can tell if a player does or not, rather a sense than a pinpoint reason that fits the young Argentine perfectly.
Judging by his posts on social media, Rojo is as happy at Man United and the fans as they are with him, and that’ll set him in good stead for the future.