Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Wayne Rooney will remain as Manchester United’s captain despite the forward struggling to win a place in his side.
“Wayne is the captain, no matter what,” said Mourinho as reported by Sky Sports during his weekly press conference. “It doesn’t matter whether he is on or off the pitch. He is my captain and the captain of the club and the captain of the players. And that is difficult, to be the captain of everyone. So he has all the respect and all the support. He is a Manchester United man, he is a great professional and wants to win and of course he was happy when we scored.
“He is speaking to the players and motivates people. He does exactly in the dressing room the same as he did a couple of weeks ago when he was starting matches. He is our man. He will score goals for us and he will work hard for us, I have no doubts about it.”
Rooney was dropped from the starting eleven against Leicester City at Old Trafford last month and hasn’t been able to earn himself a place back into the Mourinho’s starting eleven since.
The 30-year-old’s exclusion from the first eleven had raised question marks over the longevity of Rooney holding onto the captain’s armband at the club but now that Mourinho has dismissed those claims and insisted that Rooney stay on as his skipper, I guess all the rumours can now be put to rest.
It has been no secret that Rooney has endured a disappointing start to the new campaign. His lack of composure on the ball combined with his mistimed tackles left Mourinho little choice but to remove his skipper from the starting eleven.
Now at the age of 30, the United faithful do not expect Rooney to perform at the level he did in his early 20’s but they still expect a certain level of quality and Rooney has not been producing that for some time now. That extra yard of pace he had in his game is long gone and should Rooney fail to improve he will remain on the substitutes bench.
Both Juan Mata and Ander Herrera now arguably stand above the United skipper in the pecking order at Old Trafford and he will without question face a massive challenge to earn himself a place back in Mourinho’s side. The Portuguese needs pace in the middle of the park alongside Pogba and a playmaker in the number ten role who can link up play between the wingers and front man and unfortunately throughout the opening games Rooney showned that he isn’t capable of doing that anymore.
Rooney undoubtedly still has a role to play at Manchester United but no longer deserves to be a regular starter and as the season progresses Rooney will find that out.