Mou ‘benched Rooney for faster play­ers’

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports - BY MIKE KEE­GAN/

The need for speed saw Wayne Rooney parked back on the Manch­ester United bench on Sat­ur­day. As Jose Mour­inho was at pains to point out, the de­mo­tion of the Eng­land cap­tain had noth­ing to do with the boozy gate-crash­ing of a wed­ding party while on in­ter­na­tional duty. Hav­ing pub­licly put an arm round Rooney’s shoul­ders, the prag­matic boss did not ex­tend his sym­pa­thy to his team se­lec­tion.

Mour­inho looked at the op­po­si­tion, de­cided the player was not quite up to it and chose Juan Mata, An­thony Mar­tial and Mar­cus Rash­ford in­stead. Rooney, who started United’s last two matches, was dropped.

“I thought we were go­ing to have the ball,” Mour­inho ex­plained af­ter 31-year-old Rooney’s 30-minute cameo. “Arse­nal are a team who let the op­po­nents play. I thought we would have space and the ball would ar­rive quite eas­ily to the at­tack­ing play­ers. I be­lieved ones like Mata, Mar­tial and Rash­ford were faster than Wayne, bet­ter at­tack­ing op­po­nents one-to-one in the last line. I thought it was the best op­tion.’

Rooney’s week started with a dawn bed-time and lurid head­lines, and it fin­ished with him la­belling his crit­ics “dis­grace­ful” in a pas­sion­ate at­tack at the way he has been treated since his mis­be­haviour was made pub­lic. He said: “I’m proud to play for my coun­try and I’m proud of my achieve­ments. It’s not fin­ished yet.”

/REUTERS

Wayne Rooney came on in the 63rd minute for Manch­ester United against Arse­nal.

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