Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says will never sell Wayne Rooney, claiming: “I will never make that decision”.
Rooney has a contract at Old Trafford that will take him to the summer of 2019 after signing a £250,000-a-week extension during David Moyes’ time at the club.
Mourinho admitted that benching the England skipper in the last three Premier League games has been both “hard” for both the player and himself, but believes he made the decision for the good of the team.
Mourinho, speaking to Sky Sports ahead of today’s game at Stamford Bridge, says Rooney deserves to make his own decisions.
“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,” Mourinho said.
“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.”
Rooney is a major doubt for this afternoon’s clash at Chelsea after reportedly tweaking a muscle in training.
The 30-year-old played in the win over Fenerbahce on Thursday night, but he was not with his team-mates as they boarded the train to London from Stockport station yesterday.
Rooney’s form this season had been poor and Mourinho believes many of his troubles have come from a constant switching of positions in recent seasons.
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.”
Mourinho, who has used Rooney in midfield this season despite claiming he was a striker in pre-season, has reiterated his stance that he thinks the former Everton man should be used an attacking player.
“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,” added Rooney.