EPL 2016-17: Jose Mourinho says Wayne Rooney will remain Manchester United captain
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney has struggled to be at his best this season, but Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho has moved to quash any doubts about Rooney’s future by suggesting that he trusts the England international completely.
Rooney has been left on the bench in the last few matches and questions remain as to whether he deserves a place in the starting team. However, Mourinho was more than happy to keep him as captain. Speaking to reporters, he said:
"Wayne is the captain, no matter what - on or off the pitch," the Portuguese manager said. "He is my captain and captain of the club and the captain of the players.
“It is difficult to be the captain sometimes, but he has all the respect and support he needs. He is a Manchester United man, he is a great professional and wants to win. He has still been motivating people.
"OK, so, Wayne didn't start the last two matches but he played in both and he won in both, so there is no problem.
“I think Gareth Southgate was right to make Wayne his captain. Gareth is now the national team manager and doesn't just have 100 percent respect from me, he has 200 percent respect.
"If you ask me if am I happy with the decision to make Wayne captain, I will tell you that I am very happy. Any good decision that Gareth takes about one of my players will always get my respect and support.
"Gareth always has my support - as Sam had, as Sven Goran Eriksson had, and all the other ones in my time as a Chelsea manager or Manchester United manager."
Despite this public show of support by Jose Mourinho, Wayne Rooney is expected to start on the bench against Stoke City with Mata expected to play in the number 10 position, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford expected to start up-front.
Marcus Rashford says Manchester United are capable of challenging for major prizes again
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has backed Jose Mourinho's squad to get back to challenging for top honours, three years since they last won the Premier League. Since Alex Ferguson retired after winning the league in 2013, United have finished seventh, fourth and fifth, their only major trophy during that time being last season's FA Cup.
Rashford, who has scored three league goals this season, burst on to the scene in February, netting on his Premier League, Europa League, and senior international debuts. However, the 18-year-old said personal accolades took a back seat to team honours.
"You don't think about individual targets until you fulfil team targets," Rashford told The Sun. "We have a squad that can challenge for the title and other trophies, so that's the priority, given what the club has been through over the last few years.
United who are six points behind leaders Manchester City will be looking for all the 3 points against Stoke City on Sunday.
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