Jose Mourinho has insisted that Wayne Rooney will remain as Manchester United captain despite dropping him for the club's last two matches.
Wayne Rooney scored at Bournemouth on the opening weekend of the Premier League season but his form has dipped over the past few weeks, forcing the United boss into making the big decision to bench him.
The Red Devils produced a rampant first-half display without Rooney last weekend as they thrashed champions Leicester City, however the 30-year-old was involved in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's winner against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday night.
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England's leading goalscorer has lost his place in Mourinho's starting XI, but the Special One has backed Rooney and confirmed that he won't lose his captaincy even though his status at Old Trafford has changed.
The 53-year-old Portuguese manager told reporters: "Wayne is the captain, no matter what. It doesn't matter whether he is on or off the pitch. He is my captain and the captain of the club and the captain of the players.
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"And that is difficult, to be the captain of everyone. So he has all the respect and all the support. He is a Manchester United man, he is a great professional and wants to win and of course he was happy when we scored (against Leicester)."
Mourinho continued: "He is speaking to the players and motivates people. He does exactly in the dressing room the same as he did a couple of weeks ago when he was starting matches. He is our man. He will score goals for us and he will work hard for us. I have no doubts about it."
Mourinho backs Rooney for England
As his team prepare to welcome 20th placed Stoke City to the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday, Mourinho also commented on Gareth Southgate's decision to keep Rooney on as the England skipper.
Southgate is the Under-21 national team manager but he'll now step up to take charge of the senior squad following the dismissal of Sam Allardyce earlier in the week.
On Southgate's decision, Mourinho said: "If you ask me if I am happy with the decision to make Wayne captain, I will tell you that I am very happy. Any 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 times as a Chelsea manager or Manchester United manager.
"Gareth is now the national team manager and doesn't just have 100 per cent respect from me, he has 200 per cent respect. I think he was right to make Wayne his captain."
So, despite Rooney's recent struggles, his manager has assured him of his importance to the team and, being just four goals away from becoming United's all-time top scorer, the Englishman will hope to be involved later today.
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