Manchester - Wayne Rooney will not be allowed to leave
Manchester United in the January transfer window despite his frustrations at
losing his starting place at Old Trafford and interest from his former club
Ronald Koeman, in charge at the club Rooney left to join
United in the summer of 2004, has become the first Premier League manager to
express an interest in signing the England captain should Jose Mourinho be
prepared to allow him to leave.
Mourinho stated categorically not only will Rooney, 31, be
told to forget leaving but he also expects the experienced veteran to play a
key role in his attempts to return United to the top of the English game.
"I know he can still play at the highest level. I know
he's the type of player I need," said Mourinho.
"He can play at the top level. I can't say what's going
to happen when he's 32, 3, 4, 5 but what I can say is that he's a very good
player, a very important player for us. He's going nowhere.
"We like him, he likes us. He's not happy in the last
matches because he was on the bench but I think he is even unhappier when he's
not on the bench because he's been injured and has to stay in the stands.
"There are no problems at all. He's my captain. He is
the team captain. He behaves like that.
"In all my career I have had just a couple of players,
they didn't want to play and sometimes they wanted to hide when things got
Koeman had earlier talked, in general terms, about a
potential interest in Rooney, who left Goodison as a 19-year-old in a 20
million transfer in the summer of 2004.
"Even when we get one time the possibility that Rooney
is an option for Everton, I'm very pleased," said Koeman.
"I am not at United, I don't see sessions and every
game. It is a decision of the manager of Manchester United.
"But he is 31, he is not finished, he still has two or
three years at least at the highest level.
"Wayne Rooney is a top player and, of course, if there
is one day when he is available of course we would like to have him but it is
too early and I don't like to speak about players who are under contract at
Earlier in the week, reports had suggested Mourinho might be
prepared to give Koeman - and other rivals - encouragement in their hopes of
luring Rooney away from Old Trafford.
But Mourinho moved to quickly dispel such suggestions,
although he accepts the forward, who lost his starting place on the national
team shortly after suffering a similar fate with his club, has found this a
trying period in his career.
"I think he's a human being like everybody else. He has
family, like everybody else," he said.
"He has kids, the oldest one at an age where he can
read, he can feel, he gets affected by that.
"It's just human nature but I think he's a big boy, a
big character. He copes with the situation."