Wayne Rooney is too good for a move to China, says Paul Merson

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney gives the thumbs up during the Premier League match v Manchester City at Old Trafford, Manchester
Image: Paul Merson says Wayne Rooney still has plenty to offer in the Premier League

Wayne Rooney is too good for a move to China, says Paul Merson, who would like to see him end his career with Everton.

The speculation surrounding the Manchester United and England captain's future intensified on Thursday after his agent Paul Stretford flew out to China to speak to interested clubs.

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But Rooney released a statement on Thursday evening saying he would be staying put.

Rooney has struggled for regular game time under Jose Mourinho this season, although he became United's all-time record goalscorer last month when he scored his 250th goal for the club against Stoke.

Soccer Saturday pundit Merson believes Rooney still has plenty to offer in the Premier League and would like him to end his career at boyhood club Everton, whom he left for United as an 18-year-old in 2004.

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Is Rooney criticism unfair?

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"I think he's too good for China. For me, I'd love him to finish his career at Everton if I'm being honest," Merson said. "He started there, he's an Everton fan and I would love that but that's just me. He's just a bit too good for China.

"To be fair, Wayne Rooney has done everything in the game so if he did go, I wouldn't have any qualms because he's beaten records and he's got the caps.

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"But when I see other youngsters going there, I just think 'what are you doing?' You're playing in the best league in the world, you're getting good money, so why go over there?"

Rooney is currently recovering from a muscular injury and, while he returned to training this week, he remains a doubt for Sunday's EFL Cup final against Southampton, which is live on Sky Sports.

Live EFL Cup Final

However, Merson thinks that Mourinho's men will have enough to emerge victorious in the Wembley showdown.

"I've got to side with Manchester United overall," Merson said. "I don't know if it will go to extra time or not but to eventually lift the cup, I think it will be United."

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