Betting Special: Van Persie and Rooney joint favourites to captain Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Returning from their pre-season tour having won the International Champions Cup the new United boss will now have to decide who will lead United into the Premier League campaign
After taking his Netherlands side to a third place finish in the World Cup this summer there is plenty of excitement around Old Trafford as Louis van Gaal takes charge of Manchester United.

Next Permanent Manchester United Captain

Odds from William Hill
Wayne Rooney 6/4
Robin van Persie 6/4
Jonny Evans 10/1
Phil Jones 16/1
Chris Smalling 20/1
For the second consecutive season the club will begin the campaign with a new manager at the helm and fans will be hoping the appointment sees the club return to the top four, an outcome that's priced at just 1/2 (1.50) by William Hill. The same firm make United a 6/4 (2.50) shot to miss out on a Champions League spot again this term.

While those odds would suggest United should return to a top four berth by May they are actually bigger than the odds available for the same outcome at this time last season under David Moyes, so it is far from a foregone conclusion that the United boss will secure Champions League football for his new employers at the first time of asking.

With senior figures Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand departing in the summer, one of the main questions around the club will be who is chosen to captain the side and it looks like a two horse race according to the bookmakers.

William Hill make Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both 6/4 (2.50) to wear the captain's armband on a permanent basis. Jonny Evans is a distant 10/1 (11.0) in the market With Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at 16/1 and 20/1 respectively.

While Rooney is obviously seen as a key part of the club's future but will van Gaal put his faith in a 28-year-old who has had temprement issues and a chequered disciplinary record over the man who he trusted with the Dutch captaincy?

Questions marks will obviously remain over the merits of van Persie as a captain given his ongoing fitness battle. That said, if anyone knows how to get the best from the former Arsenal frontman it should be van Gaal and after playing just 21 Premier League games last term (compared to 38 the previous season) the 31-year-old may relish the extra responsibility under a manager who knows his game inside out, at 6/4 (2.50) he could be a worthwhile bet to be named the club's next captain.

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Jim Knight is Chief Betting Editor at and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast