Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes believes that Wayne Rooney will leave Old Trafford this summer after being phased out by Jose Mourinho this season.
The 31-year-old, following a series of woeful performances during the early stages of the campaign, has been ushered out of the starting XI in recent times, with his last Premier League start coming against West Bromwich Albion back in December.
Mourinho, speaking ahead of Man United’s 1-0 win over Saint Etienne, refused to confirm that Rooney would be at the club next season.
And Scholes, when asked about his former teammate on BT Sport, expressed doubts over whether he would be at Old Trafford for the 2017/18 campaign.
“I don’t know if he should go, I think he’ll want to go,” Scholes said.
“Wayne is a player who will want to play football. Whether it’s a big game or a small game he wants to play and this will be hurting him at the minute not being selected for the bigger games.
“OK he might have played in this game [against St Etienne] if he was fit.
“But he’ll get frustrated Wayne and I don’t see him hanging about if he is not going to be playing in the big games. You have to remember he is only 31 and he’s still got time to fight his way back into this team.
“It does look like he is going to be going somewhere, I just don’t see China as the right place for him.
“He’s a family man and I just don’t see him moving everything over there, but obviously it’s the right place to go financially. Whether he’ll go back to Everton for a year or two I don’t know. Whether he will want to stay in England and play for another club in England.
“I think maybe America may be more suited to him, do what Steven Gerrard did, do what David Beckham did, I think the lifestyle will be better over there.
“But I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, he’s 31-years-old, OK there is good players in this team now, but I hope there is still a bit of fight left in him.”
I always thought that Rooney’s exit from this United team would be somewhat explosive, perhaps hallmarked by some training ground scuffle or pie-eating incident.
But Mourinho has managed to subtly phase the Englishman out of the starting XI without much fuss at all, so much so that it has only really dawned on many supporters – including myself – that his days at Old Trafford are now well and truly over.
Think about it: can he occupy the No.9 role? Absolutely not. Could he get a game at No.10? Not with Henrikh Mkhitaryan knocking around. Can he feature on the wing? Just ask Roy Hodgson – he learnt the answer the hard way. Could he play at full-back amid a mass injury crisis? He can sure as hell try, but I’d probably pass on watching that, if only for my own wellbeing.
The plain truth is that, after many years hallmarked by success, Rooney’s time at the top is over, with a lucrative deal overseas serving as his most likely next step.