Phil Neville: Wayne Rooney has to stick it out at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United full-back Phil Neville has called on Wayne Rooney to stick it out at Old Trafford this season.

The Englishman has been slowly phased of the starting XI by Jose Mourinho this season, with his last Premier League start coming again West Bromwich Albion in December.

It has been recently reported that Rooney, subject to concrete interest from the Chinese Super League, has expressed a desire to leave Man United at the end of the season.

But Neville, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, believes that the 31-year-old should persist with his endeavours under Mourinho.

“I’m not going to give him advice but what I would say to him is ‘stick it out at Manchester United’,” Neville said. 

“At the moment he’s not in the team because he’s got a slight knock, but Mkhitaryan has come off injured and you never know – he could come on in the final on Sunday and make a massive impact, score, and then finish the season so well.

“You’ve seen it so many times. I don’t think he should write off his Manchester United career at this moment in time.”

There have been times where Rooney has been rightly called out for his poor judgement: that stamp against Portugal at the World Cup; trying to engineer a move to Manchester City; shouting at a camera following that draw with Algeria in 2010. These are all relevant examples.

However, for all the negative headlines generated down the years, nobody can doubt that Rooney possesses a pragmatic footballing brain. And he will know, deep down, that he no longer merits a place in Mourinho’s starting XI.

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