Jose Mourinho expects Wayne Rooney to play important role for Manchester United

Manchester United manager, José Mourinho, has become the latest manager to comment on the rise of the Chinese Super League. However, unlike other Premier League managers, Mourinho says that he doesn’t like to be critical about the players who are moving to China.

Recently, the CSL snapped up two high-profile players, with Argentine striker, Carlos Tevez, joining Shanghai Shenhua and Brazilian midfielder, Oscar, joining Shanghai SIPG. Nigerian midfielder, John Obi Mikel, also moved to China from Chelsea in January.

Recently, Diego Costa, the in-form Chelsea striker was  at the centre of speculation, with him being linked with a move to China. Antonio Conte, the Chelsea manager, was reportedly angry with him and dropped him from Chelsea’s trip to Leicester. He claimed that “money is not everything” in football, and made it clear that Costa won’t be sold in January.

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has also expressed his concern about the rising financial power of the CSL. However, Mourinho feels that the experience of playing in China can be interesting.

He said, as quoted by Reuters:

I don’t like to be critical with players that are going to China. 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.

Wayne Rooney has recently been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League. He broke Sir Bobby Charlton‘s record on Saturday to become the club’s all time top scorer with 250 goals. While United fans are divided in opinion about whether Rooney should be allowed to continue at United, Mourinho feels that his skipper still has plenty to offer.

I don’t like to be critical with players that are going to China … Could anyone be critical with Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) last summer if he decided to go to China or the U.S.?

No, and I think with Wayne it’s the same… It’s him, his family and his decision. But, of course, I see him with an important contribution for us.

In Wayne’s case, I have no idea. He never mentioned anything to me. 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.

Many believe that Rooney is past his best and the time is right for him to leave the club with dignity. He has won every possible trophy for United and earned a place in club’s history books. Rooney is 31, and it may deceive some into thinking that he still has plenty of time ahead, but one has to consider that he has been playing at a top level since the age of 16, and has played 742 matches for club and country.

Rooney has shown glimpses of what he is capable of (his wonderful free-kick against Stoke City), but he is physically not that sharp anymore. Mourinho believes Rooney can still play important roles for United, but to do so, the England star will have to accept bit-part roles (similar to Paul Scholes or Ryan Giggs at United) at the club. Given his current wage (highest earner at the club) will he take a significant pay cut just to prolong his career at United? From that respect, a move to China makes sense.