Jose Mourinho confirms he has no intention of dropping Wayne Rooney for big games
The Manchester United boss explained the reasons behind his decision to leave the club captain at home for tomorrow's fixture against Feyenoord.
Along with Rooney, Jesse Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who were both taken off at half-time during the defeat to Manchester City at the weekend, have also been left out as Mourinho looks to utilise his squad in Holland, while Phil Jones is injured.
Marcus Rashford could be set for a first start of the season, while Matteo Darmian, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick and Memphis Depay may also be included having failed to make the derby day squad.
Following Paul Pogba's poor performance in the Manchester derby, there were many calls among fans and pundits for Rooney to be dropped to allow the France star play in his favoured left-sided midfield role as part of a 4-3-3 formation.
Starting to think Pogba will never be the best until we sacrifice Rooney and Fellaini in a 4-3-3. Strange feeling #mufc— All For United (@allforunited) September 13, 2016
Lots of Pogba criticism but the fact is he's playing out of position so we can accomodate Rooney. Same old story.#MUFC— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) September 12, 2016
Deserved nothing from that game. United were awful. Rooney needs to be dropped. And quickly. Pogba didn't get a kick. Didn't turn up. #MUFC— Simon Delaney (@SimonDelaneyEsq) September 10, 2016
Spending so much on Pogba to play him out of position is like buying a Picasso and sticking it in the garage— David Amoyal (@DavidAmoyal) September 10, 2016
While Mourinho did switch to 4-3-3 in the Manchester derby after Ander Herrera was introduced, it seems unlikely that that system can accommodate Rooney for 90 minutes.
Pogba has yet to register a goal or assist since his world-record move back to Old Trafford but any fans hoping to see the former Juventus man play in his preferred role may have to wait a while.
In his pre-Europa League press conference today, Mourinho outlined why Rooney was left behind for the trip:
Man United squad in full: De Gea, Romero, Johnstone; Darmian, Bailly, Blind, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Smalling; Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Mata, Memphis, Pogba, Schneiderlin, Young; Ibrahimovic, Martial, Rashford.