Chelsea and Manchester United are both in Thailand at the moment, the club’s hotels virtually around the corner from each other. But the big top of conversation with both managers today was a player who is back in England injured.
At about the same time that Rooney was landing in London, after being sent home from United’s Asian tour with a hamstring injury, Mourinho was asked at his press conference about the unsettled United striker:
‘It’s a funny trick question,’ Mourinho said.
‘From an ethical point of view I can not speak about other team’s players. But I won’t speak with hypocrisy. It’s not in my nature. I always speak what I think.
‘He is a player I like very much but I can’t say much more. He is fast and direct and I like him. But he is a Manchester United player.’
Moyes’s presser followed Mourinho’s and it did not take long for the new United boss to fire back at the Special One saying:
‘Unless I was speaking double Dutch last week, we said Wayne Rooney is not for sale.
‘People are entitled to talk about good players. I’m getting asked plenty of questions about Wayne.
‘Jose has been asked about players as well. It’s hard to keep repeating myself but I will – Wayne is a Manchester United player and it will remain that way.
‘I think Jose said, in his comments, that he doesn’t normally talk about other players. But it does happen.
‘I think I’ve covered all of the things on Wayne. I’ve given you everything about his injury.
‘What you must remember is that Manchester United is a football club and I’ve got a team, and this is not about any one individual.
‘I many ways, I’m only interested in the team. I will answer questions on Wayne but some of them are just reverting back to things I’ve covered.’
United’s first home of the season is against Chelsea at Old Trafford on 26 August. The big question is will Wayne Rooney be wearing a red or blue shirt that day?