Mou ‘benched Rooney for faster players’
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.”
Wayne Rooney came on in the 63rd minute for Manchester United against Arsenal.