Mourinho brands Rooney to Everton ´nonsense´ but won´t guarantee captain´s future
Jose Mourinho says talk of Wayne Rooney returning to Everton makes “no sense” but admits that he cannot guarantee that the Manchester United captain will stay at the club for next season.
Rooney rejected approaches during the transfer window, reportedly from the lucrative Chinese Super League, in order to stay at Old Trafford for the remainder of 2016-17.
The 31-year-old was an unused substitute during the EFL Cup final – although he was preparing to come on before Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the 87th-minute winner against Southampton – and he has not started a Premier League match since December.
Everton boss Ronald Koeman suggested this week that he would be interested in a deal to bring Rooney back to Goodison Park, but Mourinho insists that the forward has proved his commitment to United.
Addressing a media conference, the United boss said: “Wayne Rooney to Everton, I only can say that in the final, with the team in difficulties, with the team possibly going to play 40 more minutes, Rooney was ready to go into the pitch. So he’s not the player we play in the last minute or to give a gift in the winning final.
“He’s selected [for Saturday’s match against Bournemouth] with possibilities to play, start or be on the bench, so since the moment he decided to stay and to help the team and to fight for Manchester United he’s an important player for us.
“I think, by giving you these two little big details, I’m telling you all the talk about Everton for me makes no sense.”
Asked whether he can assure fans that Rooney will stay for next season, however, Mourinho was less forthright.
“What I got, as a very strong message, is I don’t go anywhere, I want to fight and help this team in every single one, so until the end of the season he is 100 per cent with us,” he said.
“Next season, 100 per cent I would like him to be with us but I don’t give you 100 per cent and I like the players to be happy and not just to be with me because I want them with me.”
Speculation has also raged over the future of Luke Shaw, with the full-back having been moved to the fringes of United’s plans and left out of the EFL Cup final entirely, but Mourinho says he will be in the squad for Bournemouth’s visit to Old Trafford.
“Luke Shaw is selected for tomorrow [Saturday] so you won’t need to have the guys at The Lowry [hotel] to take the pictures to see if he’s selected,” he said of the 20-year-old, whose last league game was against Burnley on October 29. “He’s in the list, so one step up from not being in the final.
“Not even on the bench and now again, like Wayne, he’s selected, playing or on the bench. He becomes an option to us again.”