Jose Mourinho has made note of the difficulty that stems from Wayne Rooney‘s current predicament at Manchester United, lamenting the way he only received the chance to work with him during the dying stages of his career.
The 31-year-old begun life under Mourinho as a regular in the starting XI before a string of woeful displays consigned him to the role of squad player.
But Mourinho has told Omnisport that the Englishman is very much entering the latter stages of his career.
“It’s very difficult because during my career I had this kind of situation of getting players – amazing players with amazing history – in the last period of their career,” he said.
“When you get players in the last part of their careers, the players with the big history in the club – and I had that everywhere, I had that in Inter, I had that at Real Madrid, I had that at Chelsea.
“Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, to have them – and in my case I had them in the best period of their career – and then when I returned the second time, I had them in their last period of their career. How difficult it is.”
I always assumed that the end of Rooney’s long spell as the axis of United’s attacking line-up would be something of an ordeal – a massive, internationally documented abandonment of one of the finest players ever seen at Old Trafford – but Mourinho has done brilliantly with the way he has slowly but surely pushed the 31-year-old into the backwaters this season.
We have, as a result, reached a point where the contingent still rooting for a regular role in the starting XI for Rooney consists of, well, simply Rooney himself.
Back in 2010, when his United career was in limbo, the 31-year-old was a seemingly disinterested figure during a time of some of his best performances in a red shirt; now, however, the Englishman finds himself miles away from the starting XI but seemingly more determined than ever before to have a role in this side.
There may come a point where Mourinho has to openly tell his captain that, ahead of a 2017/18 campaign which simply needs more firepower, his services are no longer needed in the first team.