Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho: I will never sell Wayne Rooney
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 23/10/16 7:14pm
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says he will never reach the position where he feels forced to sell Wayne Rooney.
Rooney has been in and out of United's side since Mourinho took over from Louis van Gaal during the summer, with his last three Premier League appearances all coming as a substitute.
But Mourinho feels Rooney's stature as a United great, after playing more than 500 games and scoring nearly 250 goals for the club, means it will be the player who decides when to bring his Old Trafford career to an end.
Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Mourinho said, when asked if he would ever be as ruthless as to sell the 30-year-old: "No, never.
"I will never make that decision. A player of his stature, a player of his history in the club will never go to point where club or manager want to make that decision for him.
"I put him [Rooney] on the bench for three matches in a row. That is hard for him, hard for me, so that is being ruthless, to put in my mind the interests of the team in front of the player, prestige, status. In this case even legend. To put on bench a player with the numbers he has for club and country is hard.
"But as we were saying before, this is an industry where the people who leads, sometimes in a correct decision, sometimes not correct decisions, but in our mind the decisions we think is the best for the team."
Mourinho thinks many of Rooney's troubles have come from a constant switching of positions in recent seasons and he reiterated his belief that the United and England captain should play as far forward as possible.
Rooney has tended to drop deeper with age and successive England managers have regularly played him in a more withdrawn midfield role, at times even as a holding player.
But Mourinho added: "I think it then created a bit of a doubt in relation to his role, to his position, to his future and I think players especially in moments of less confidence, they need to be clear in his head.
"He cannot be jumping from No 6 to No 9, or No 9 to No 10, or No 9 to No 6. For me, he is an attacking player. What is an attacking player for me? For him, a 9 or 10.
"Play No 6, play in midfield, not with me unless we need it and unless we ask him to do that, but with me, I want the ideas completely clear. He is a second striker, plays behind the striker or as a striker. That's what I think is Wayne Rooney."
Mourinho also refuted talk that Rooney's career is in decline and is sure he will return to a high level of performance for club and country.
He said: "I think he's paying for his success. He had so many successes in his career. He brought his expectation levels to such a level that people probably think he has to perform in every match, every week, every month, every season at the same level. For me, that's a problem.
"I think in this country it happens to everyone, it is just your nature, you build people, you kill people, you build again and you destroy again! And I think it is just the nature of the business, especially in football."