Mourinho bars Rooney from United escape

Koeman offers Everton escape route for Rooney Wayne Rooney will not be allowed to leave Manchester United in the January transfer window despite his frustrations at losing his starting place at Old Trafford and interest from his former club Everton. Also Everton manager Ronald Koeman says he would love to bring Wayne Rooney back to Goodison Park if the England star can’t revive his flagging Manchester United fortunes. *Rooney *Rooney Ronald Koeman, in charge at the club Rooney left to join United in the summer of 2004, has become the first Premier League manager to express an interest in signing the England captain should Jose Mourinho be prepared to allow him to leave. Mourinho stated categorically not only will Rooney, 31, be told to forget leaving but he also expects the experienced veteran to play a key role in his attempts to return United to the top of the English game. “I know he can still play at the highest level. I know he’s the type of player I need,” said Mourinho. “He can play at the top level. I can’t say what’s going to happen when he’s 32, 3, 4, 5 but what I can say is that he’s a very good player, a very important player for us. He’s going nowhere. “We like him, he likes us. He’s not happy in the last matches because he was on the bench but I think he is even unhappier when he’s not on the bench because he’s been injured and has to stay in the stands. “There are no problems at all. He’s my captain. He is the team captain. He behaves like that. “In all my career I have had just a couple of players, they didn’t want to play and sometimes they wanted to hide when things got hotter.” Koeman had earlier talked, in general terms, about a potential interest in Rooney, who left Goodison as a 19-year-old in a £20 million transfer in the summer of 2004. “Even when we get one time the possibility that Rooney is an option for Everton, I’m very pleased,” said Koeman. “I am not at United, I don’t see sessions and every game. It is a decision of the manager of Manchester United. “But he is 31, he is not finished, he still has two or three years at least at the highest level. “Wayne Rooney is a top player and, of course, if there is one day when he is available of course we would like to have him but it is too early and I don’t like to speak about players who are under contract at other teams.” Earlier in the week, reports had suggested Mourinho might be prepared to give Koeman — and other rivals — encouragement in their hopes of luring Rooney away from Old Trafford. But Mourinho moved to quickly dispel such suggestions, although he accepts the forward, who lost his starting place on the national team shortly after suffering a similar fate with his club, has found this a trying period in his career. “I think he’s a human being like everybody else. He has family, like everybody else,” he said. “He has kids, the oldest one at an age where he can read, he can feel, he gets affected by that. “It’s just human nature but I think he’s a big boy, a big character. He copes with the situation.” Koeman offers Everton escape route for Rooney Everton manager Ronald Koeman says he would love to bring Wayne Rooney back to Goodison Park if the England star can’t revive his flagging Manchester United fortunes. United captain Rooney has been relegated to the bench by boss Jose Mourinho in recent weeks after a dip in form that prompted speculation he could be on the verge of leaving Old Trafford. Koeman was asked on Friday if he would be interested in offering Merseyside-born Rooney a return home to Everton, who he left in 2004 to join United after starting his career with the Toffees. “First of all, I think it is a great player, and he has still not finished his career,” Koeman said. “I do not know how his situation is, and I need to respect that situation. That’s not my problem. “But even when we get one time the possibility that Rooney is an option for Everton, I’m very pleased.” Rooney, who scored 17 goals in 77 appearances for Everton, was dropped by England interim manager Gareth Southgate for their last World Cup qualifier, but Koeman remains a big fan of the 31-year-old. Asked if he was surprised by some of the criticism Rooney has endured this season, Koeman added: “That is part of football. “He is enough of an experienced person in football that he knows what can happen and everybody gets periods of critics. “It is part of football and of the business, and you need to stay calm — that is the best thing you can do.”

*Rooney

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