Manchester United’s attacking force for next season is looking good according to captain Wayne Rooney, after he played alongside Zlatan on Tuesday night.
United failed to find the net as they played out a goalless draw with Rooney‘s former club Everton in their final pre-season friendly at Old Trafford.
But Rooney linked well with Ibrahimovic, who was making his home debut, and the combinations with fellow forwards Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial were also promising as the team continued its re-tuning under new boss Jose Mourinho.
Rooney told BT Sport: “I think that will come with time, in the next few weeks when you’re getting your full fitness.
“I think tonight was a little step forward. A few of the lads felt a bit sharper.
“In the first half we opened them up at times and the rotation was there between players, little combinations.
“It was a decent performance at times. We could have scored a couple of goals. We’ll take positives from it and try to build on them.”
Ibrahimovic, the veteran former Sweden international, is also relishing the chance to play alongside Rooney.
“I said many years ago the perfect partner for a striker is Wayne Rooney,” he said in an interview aired before the game by MUTV.
But aside from their positive play, and an energetic display from fit-again and rejuvenated Luke Shaw, the game was largely uneventful, although Everton exposed few weaknesses.
Chances were few and far between. Everton’s Ross Barkley tested David de Gea and Romelu Lukaku headed a gilt-edged chance wide, while Shaw saw an effort deflected past the post and Ibrahimovic shot at new Toffees goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
After the break, former Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini headed at substitute keeper Joel Robles.
United are clearly a work in progress under Mourinho. Attention will now turn to the Community Shield against Leicester on Sunday and – presumably – the pursuit of Paul Pogba.
Mourinho was asked about continuing reports linking the Frenchman with a world record £100million return to United from Juventus before the game, but would not comment directly.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose United future is uncertain, was conspicuous by his complete absence from the team sheet.
“It was a night I was always going to remember and for me and the three children it was great,” said Rooney, who is donating all proceeds from the fixture, which was attended by 58,597 fans, to charity.
New Everton boss Ronald Koeman also made a host of changes, including one enforced by injury when Muhamed Besic hobbled off.