Wayne Rooney became Manchester United’s all-time top scorer with a wonderful free-kick away at Stoke City on the weekend, but still José Mourinho wouldn’t stand in Rooney’s path if he decided upon a move to China. There have recently been reports — albeit of questionable provenance — suggesting that the United captain could soon be on his way to the Chinese Super League on a mind-bogglingly large wage, following the likes of Axel Witsel, Carlos Tevez and Oscar. Mourinho, quoted in the Guardian, had the following to say:
“I don’t like to be critical with players that are going to China. It is their life, it is their organisation of life, it is their organisation of career. The money is huge, the experience can also be very interesting. I know some of my colleagues, they think they are more important than they are, they are critical with the lives of other people. I am not this kind of guy. I think everyone is responsible for his own life. That is why I am not critical with anyone.
“But in Wayne’s case, I have no idea. He never mentioned anything to me. You will have to ask him. The future belongs to him and what he wants from his career, the way he wants to end it and enjoy this last part of his career belongs to him.”
None of this is to say that Rooney is actually seriously thinking of a move to China, of course; there’s no evidence to suggest a transfer is in the offing. Nor is it even to say that Mourinho’s overly keen on forcing him out: it’s clear Rooney’s still a useful option from off the bench, and now he’s survived the initial shock of dropping him from the first team without a massive media backlash, there’s no particular harm in keeping him hanging around. As you were ...