Football

Mourinho coy on whether Rooney will start

CRYSTAL PALACE MAN UNITED

Jose Mourinho has warned Wayne Rooney that he cannot be sure of being involved in Manchester United's clash with Crystal Palace tomorrow morning (Singapore time) despite Henrikh Mkhitaryan's injury.

The United and England captain has been relegated to the bench this season and has started just one league game since being left out against Leicester City at the end of September.

Rooney is one strike short of the 249 career United goals scored by the legendary Bobby Charlton but, with just three goals this season, and only one in the league, the striker might have to wait a while longer to make history.

Although an injury to Mkhitaryan in last Sunday's 1-0 win against Tottenham will keep the Armenian attacker out of United's next two games, Mourinho insists Rooney, 31, is just one of five players battling to start at Selhurst Park.

"I knew that was coming," Mourinho said jokingly when asked if Rooney would start.

"Rooney, (Marcus) Rashford, (Jesse) Lingard, Ashley Young, Memphis Depay - that's a position where we have lots of players so that will not be another problem, to choose a player to play.

"The problem is Mkhitaryan was playing so, so well and now he's not there."

Mourinho paid tribute to his central defensive pairing of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, two players whose United careers have been blighted by injuries and inconsistent form.

With that duo impressing and Eric Bailly returning to full fitness, Mourinho is confident about his defensive options.

"Phil looks fresh and looks sharp and fast," said Mourinho of Jones. "I think he had a big evolution and I think he has already played six matches. Six matches, Phil Jones? I don't remember when he last did that.

"A little bit like Marcos because Marcos also had lots of problems with injuries and he also looks free from it.

"In a period without Bailly and (Chris) Smalling, when people could be scared, they stepped up and both played so many matches already." - AFP

wayne rooneyManchester Unitedcrystal palace