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Mourinho: Rooney as back-up will hurt England

ESPN staff
July 17, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Jose Mourinho has waded into the debate about Wayne Rooney's future for a second time by warning England that their World Cup hopes will suffer if their main striker is not in the Manchester United team.

Rooney was reportedly left "angry and confused" by comments from new United manager David Moyes suggesting he is seen as a back-up for Robin van Persie.

Chelsea is seen as a possible destination for Rooney, who Mourinho described as "a player I like" last week, and the Portuguese is expected to sign a forward this summer.

And the former Real Madrid manager believes Rooney's current problems at club level will have an impact on the international side.

Speaking on Chelsea's pre-season tour of Thailand, he said: "If Wayne is a second choice for Man United, then the national team will be affected."

With 36 goals in 83 caps, Rooney is the fifth highest scorer in England's history but Roy Hodgson's team, who are only second in Group H, are not certain to qualify for next summer's World Cup in Brazil.

Rooney has been a United player since 2004 but has been unsettled in recent months. Sir Alex Ferguson declared that he wanted to leave Old Trafford and though Moyes said he is not for sale, the younger Scot then hinted that he could be a reserve this season.

Rooney, 27, flew home from United's pre-season tour of Asia and Australia with a hamstring injury.

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