He may be Manchester United captain but Jose Mourinho doesn’t believe Wayne Rooney belongs in his starting line-up at the moment.
The forward turns 31 next week and it appears that his days at United are numbered after being dropped to the bench in the previous four matches.
While it’s one thing naming Rooney as a substitute for matches against Northampton, Leicester and Hull, but having the skipper on the bench for a trip to Liverpool is another thing altogether.
That’s what happened on Monday with the scouser only appearing for 13 minutes against the team he loves to hate.
While there's no doubt he respects his manager's decision, Rooney must have hated being made to watch from the dugout as his side held out for a 0-0 draw.
And Rooney has come out fighting and has a strong message for his manager insisting his career is far from over.
“Not in my mind, maybe in other people's minds but not mine. I’m 31 next week, I’ve got a lot of football left,” he said, per Manchester Evening News.
“I want to play. I have to try and do my job for the team and wait for my chance and take it when I get it.
“I like to think I can play every game, but obviously it's the manger’s decision and I respect that. I will be ready when I’m needed.
“You have to have a positive attitude and that's what I have. I prepare exactly the same as if I’m starting the game. I’ll make sure I’m ready and have no excuse when I’m needed.”
“I’ve started through all my career, this is a new challenge, it is a new period, of course I want to play – I just have to keep working and get into the team and I’m sure my chances will come I know that and then it is up to me to take them.”
The comments are admirable by Rooney but whether Mourinho gives him the opportunity to prove himself in the coming weeks and months remains to be seen.
However, substitute or not, Rooney is adamant Mourinho’s side can challenge for the title this season despite them already being five points behind Manchester City and Arsenal.
“I think we’ll be challenging this season - we’ve still got that belief and it is even stronger after working with this manager, and the players over the last few months,” he added.
“We’ve got a fantastic squad, that is ready and capable of challenging.”
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