Man United great Schmeichel says Rooney's in for a big season
Schmeichel tips England star for great things in new season
The players may get a couple of weeks break in the close season but time doesn't stand still for a football club.
There is work to do on the various facilities in and around the home stadium, promotions to plan and undertake, and crucially, players to buy and sell.
Manchester United have been typically busy over the last couple of months on that particular front, signing a host of players including Germany's World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dutch ace Memphis Depay, and offloading Radamel Falcao, Luis Nani and Anderson, among others.
There are a few new faces at Old Trafford already, and manager Louis van Gaal has hinted he could be striking deals right until the final transfer window deadline of Sept 1.
But, according to club legend Peter Schmeichel, the Red Devil who has the biggest season ahead of him is one who has already made 479 appearances for United, and scored 230 goals along the way.
In town yesterday to officially launch United's new adidas kit at Weston Corporation's Kallang Wave Mall outlet, the former superstar goalkeeper picked club captain Wayne Rooney as the man who will be key to the side's hopes of silverware in the upcoming season.
Responding to a question by The New Paper, Schmeichel, 51, said: "We've signed a lot of great players this summer, but I think someone like Wayne Rooney will have a really big season.
"It's his second season as captain, and I think he's also going to play striker this year.
"Hopefully he can cross the 20-goal mark."
Since signing for United from Everton in 2004 as an 18-year-old, England striker Rooney has reached double figures in the goals column in every Premier League season.
But he's only passed the 20-goal mark twice, in 2009/2010 (26) and 2011/2012 (27).
In recent years, the 29-year-old has frequently been deployed in midfield.
This time, it appears that Rooney will be the focal point of United's attack, after van Gaal got rid of two of the club's senior strikers in the close season.
Colombian flop Falcao has joined English champions Chelsea after a miserable season on loan at Old Trafford, and ageing Dutchman Robin van Persie, who turns 32 on Thursday and was a big part of United's record-setting 20th Premier League title in 2013, has moved to Turkish side Fenerbahce.
It leaves United with Rooney, new face Depay, 19-year-old James Wilson and Mexican outcast Javier Hernandez - who is out with a collarbone injury having spent most of last season warming Real Madrid's bench while on loan - as the only recognised forwards at the club.
There is talk of van Gaal signing a marquee forward player before the window closes, and Schmeichel is certain there is someone who fits the bill (see sidebar).
Even if the club begin the season with no more new signings, the man voted the Best Goalkeeper in the world in 1992 and 1993 believes United have the quality to challenge for the title.
"I think the business has been good this summer," said Schmeichel.
"I certainly expect them to be challenging for the title.
"Are we there yet? I don't know.
"I think a lot of people have a lot to prove.
"But it's looking good.
"The manager is making the right noises, the club are signing the right players, and I fully expect Manchester United to be one of the four clubs realistically challenging for the title."
Schmeichel helped launch United's new adidas home kit in smashing style.
Armed with a huge metal trident, the five-time Premier League winner shattered a glass window to reveal the retro-inspired strip, the club's first since they signed a 10-year, £750m deal with adidas.
"Louis van Gaal sees everything, and what he says always comes true. Many times we won matches on details which he had practised in training beforehand. Defensively we were well organised and knew exactly what to expect."
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BY THE NUMBERS
230: Wayne Rooney has scored 230 goals for Manchester United in 479 appearances since joining the Old Trafford side in 2004. He is closing in on the record of 249 set by Sir Bobby Charlton. By the new season, Rooney should become the second top scorer for the club, overtaking the tally of 237 set by Denis Law.
Zlatan can become the new Cantona
Both are enigmatic, charismatic, and outrageously talented with a football at their feet.
That's why Manchester United legend Peter Schmeichel believes Zlatan Ibrahimovic could go on to emulate club icon Eric Cantona if he joins the English Premier League side.
Schmeichel, 51, was in town yesterday to help launch United's new adidas kit for the upcoming season at the Weston Corporation's Kallang Wave Mall outlet.
Amid rumours Red Devils flop Angel di Maria is on his way to cash-rich Paris St Germain for £44 million ($94m), the Dane suggested Swede Ibrahimovic, 33, would make the perfect signing for United.
When asked by a fan who he would like to see his former club sign, Schmeichel said: "I said, 12 months ago, that I would love to see Zlatan Ibrahimovic play for Manchester United.
"I still feel he'd be fantastic.
"He has the right kind of image that I like to see players of Manchester United have.
"He could be an inspiration for something new, something different. He's the kind of guy that can inject inspiration, like Eric Cantona. So I'd love to see that happen.
"(If) Angel di Maria goes to Paris St Germain, maybe we can take Zlatan? Does that sound good?" he asked the assembled supporters, to a chorus of approval.
United are seemingly embroiled in a tug-of-war with Real Madrid over goalkeeper David de Gea, and Schmeichel was unequivocal in his view that the Red Devils should not stand in the way of the Spaniard if he wanted to return home, no matter how good he was.
He could not contain his laughter when he then shared an anecdote involving the supremely confident Ibrahimovic.
"I went to the Sweden Player of the Year award (in 2012), where Freddie Ljungberg was going to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award.
"And that year, Zlatan was named Player of the Year in Sweden for the (seventh) time. And his speech was simply... He took the trophy and said: 'See you next year'.
"I like that kind of guy."
- SAZALI ABDUL AZIZ