Jose Mourinho has told Wayne Rooney he won’t play as a midfielder at Manchester United – and his role in the side will be in the attack only.
The 53-year-old was officially unveiled as United manager on Tuesday, replacing Louis van Gaal in the Old Trafford hotseat. He wasted little time in aiming a dig at his predecessor, as well as age-old rival Arsene Wenger.
In an eventful first press conference, Mourinho was asked on the playing future of current captain Rooney.
The 30-year-old moved into a more reserved midfield role in the latter stages of last season, one he reprised for England at Euro 2016.
Rooney earned plaudits for some of his performances, but others exposed his naivety in the position, and Mourinho is unwilling to continue the experiment.
“There are many jobs and the one that is more difficult to find is the guy that puts the ball in the net,” he said: “Players change during the years, their qualities and characteristics.
“It is normal that a player of his age changes, but something that will never change is the natural appetite to put the ball in the net.
“Maybe he is not a striker anymore, or a nine, but with me he will never be a six playing 50 metres from the goal. He will be a nine, a 10, a nine and a half, but not a six or eight.
“You can tell me his pass is amazing but my pass is amazing too without pressure.”
“I’m enjoying my football. It’s a new chapter, a new position and I’m hoping it’s the start of a very good chapter” – Wayne Rooney, June 23.