Man United boss Jose Mourinho has all-but confirmed that Wayne Rooney will remain on the bench for his side’s clash with Liverpool on Monday night.
The 30-year-old has been out of the starting line-up for the past three games for United, and also lost his place in the England team last week for the World Cup qualifier against Slovenia with question marks over whether or not he remains the best option for club and country.
United travel to Anfield to take on bitter rivals Liverpool on Monday, and despite his history of scoring key goals against the Reds, it doesn’t appear as though Mourinho will bring Rooney back into the starting line-up for the high-profile showdown.
The Portuguese tactician admitted that his captain was hurting, but ultimately reputation and history count for nothing when selecting his team for the game.
“I think what you could hurt you did already,” said Mourinho, as reported by The Mirror. “I don’t think you can do more than what you did.
“So I think in this moment it’s time for him to recover from what was done to him and the best place for him to do that is feeling like he feels at home here.
“You can hurt me but you can’t put me down. I think he’s the same.
“It’s a choice. I have 24 players. The records are not important for me. A match is an isolated event. There’s no relation to what you did in the past, no relation to what you do in the future.”
Ultimately, Mourinho must select the team that he believes will give his side the best chance of returning to Manchester with a positive result.
Given Liverpool’s high-tempo and relentless pressing up the pitch, it would arguably be a mistake to bring Rooney back in with his tendency to slow play down coupled with his lack of pace and urgency.
In turn, it would come as no surprise if Mourinho opts for more energetic options in his trident behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic on this occasion, and it remains to be seen how long Rooney will have to wait before getting another opportunity to prove his worth for United from the opening whistle.
Having been arguably unfairly booed by sections of England supporters during the international break last week, the pressure seems to be growing on Rooney, but in all probability he’ll be anxiously waiting for a chance to hit back at his critics on the pitch.