Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has been dropped to the bench for the visit of Premier League champions Leicester to Old Trafford on Saturday.
The 30-year-old’s place in the starting line-up has been widely debated with United manager Jose Mourinho saying his place was not set in stone.
Rooney started last Sunday’s Premier League game at Watford and against Northampton in midweek in the EFL Cup, but Mourinho on Saturday named him among the substitutes.
Mourinho made eight changes to the side that won at Sixfields on Wednesday, with Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Ander Herrera retaining their place.
Mourinho said Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Luke Shaw were available in the build-up, but neither were in the squad. The latter is understood not to have recovered in time from a small groin tear.
Mourinho himself has been subjected to criticism after United slumped to three successive defeats last week which is his worst run since 2002. And unlike his predecessor Louis van Gaal Mourinho has not guaranteed Rooney a starting place.
“Wayne is the captain of the club, the manager and the players — he is trusted by the players, he is trusted by myself and he represents the club in a fantastic way as a player and person,” said Mourinho.
“Football is a different story. Football everyone is the same and if he has to go on the bench, he goes on the bench.
“If he has to stay at home, he stays at home, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t trust him or you have a problem (with him). Not at all.
“We have no problems. He is our captain but, of course, no privilege, he is like anyone else.”
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