Wayne Rooney is currently going through one of the toughest periods of his career.
The 30-year-old, who has been playing top-level football since he was 16, has come in for some seriously heavy criticism from Manchester United fans this season and was sensationally dropped - although not without good reason - for last weekend’s match against Leicester City.
United, without Rooney in the starting line-up, scored four first-half goals against the Premier League champions.
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Mourinho will deploy Rooney against Zorya in the Europa League on Thursday evening but his under-performing captain is then expected to take his place back on the subs’ bench when United go head-to-head against Stoke City on Sunday lunchtime.
Rooney isn’t used to being dropped - at times it almost seemed as if David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were too scared to axe the forward - and it remains to be seen how England’s all-time record goalscorer will respond to this blow.
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Rio explains how Rooney will react
Rooney’s former United teammate, Rio Ferdinand, believes the forward will react well to being dropped and will be determined to prove that he’s still worthy of a place in the Red Devils’ starting line-up.
“Wayne won’t sit down and take this lightly,” Ferdinand told the London Evening Standard. “He will want to prove to people ‘I am still the man’.”
Rio: Axe will be good for Rooney
Ferdinand, who now works as a pundit for BT Sport, believes Rooney will benefit from being dropped for a couple of matches.
“Wayne Rooney won’t feel like this right now but being left out of the Manchester United starting line-up could be the best thing that has happened to him.
“I know what it feels like. It happened to me at United and I remember feeling bitter and thinking it was a disgrace. But I refocused and the hunger and spark came back.
“This is a great time for Wayne to re-evaluate his game, his training-ground routine, his methods off the pitch and at home and how he gets ready for a game.
“I am sure he will be able to recharge mentally and physically to go again.
“I think it will do him the world of good, just as it did for me.”
United will need Rooney very soon
Following this weekend’s match against the Potters, United take on Liverpool, Fenerbahce, Chelsea and Manchester City in the space of nine gruelling days.
Mourinho will be hoping that a spell out of the team will serve as a wake-up call for Rooney ahead of one of the busiest periods of the 2016-17 campaign.
Will Wayne Rooney rediscover his form and confidence after a spell out of the team - or is he finished? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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