Chris Smalling has backed Wayne Rooney to recapture his form and break back into the Manchester United starting XI after the striker was dropped for their 4-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday (24 September). The defender also revealed that the Red Devils skipper's attitude was the same despite being demoted to the bench.

Jose Mourinho had been urged to drop Rooney in the build-up to the game against the Foxes owing to the England international's lack of form. United had lost three back-to-back games and look to have recaptured their form after the Portuguese manager's change in tactics. Paul Pogba showed glimpses of why the club paid a record fee to sign him this summer during their win over the reigning champions after he was given more freedom in midfield.

Smalling, who made his first start in the Premier League this season, made it clear that there was no change in approach from the Three Lions record goal scorer, as he urged the team to get back on track and back to winning ways ahead of kick-off. United have Europa League commitments on Thursday (29 September) with the visit of Zorya Luhansk, and Rooney could return for the clash after sitting out at the weekend.

"Wayne was the same as always before the game when we're all getting ready. He is often one of the most vocal and he was the same before the Leicester match," Smalling said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.

"Regardless whatever the situation is, whatever game, whether he is on the bench or playing or whatever, he is always that same type of character and that's why he is England's main man and our main man.

"He has the same method even when there's games where the manager changes the whole team, Wayne's still the same, in the changing room talking. That's something that will never change with Wayne," the English defender explained.

Chris Smalling and Wayne Rooney
Chris Smalling has backed United skipper Wayne Rooney to recapture his form and return to the starting XI Getty

"He's a very experienced guy and he's played that many games that I think it'll only be a matter of time before he's back in there and firing again because he's quality," Smalling added.

"He's our captain and he's one of our main players."