Jose Mourinho has continued his public approach of Wayne Rooney by insisting that players who aren’t first choice at club level are in ‘trouble’ if they want to go to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
His comments come the day after Chelsea’s bid was officially rejected and he stipulated that the club would not make an improved bid for the player.
When asked a general question about player’s motivations in the year leading up to the World Cup at a press conference on tour, he said: “I always say to my players that when they are with the national team they don’t think about our club.
“But when they are with the club they have to forget the national team and give everything to the club.
“At the same time, normally players who want to go to their national team and play for their country, normally they must be first choice players for their clubs and be playing regularly.
“That’s the big motivation if you are thinking about playing at the World Cup. If they want to go to the World Cup and they’re second choice at their club, then they’re in trouble.
“I think it’s a crucial year for them. Many national team coaches are worried because they want players to play regularly for their clubs. You must play for me to play for you, you must play for you to play for me. It’s a combination. They must share the situation.”
While not explicitly directed at Rooney, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Mourinho is trying to talk to Rooney through the media.
And the silly thing about Rooney’s England situation is that it wouldn’t matter if he didn’t kick a ball next year, Roy Hodgson would still give him a seat on the plane to Brazil should England qualify, ‘second choice’ or not.
Mourinho began the mind games last Friday when he labelled Rooney as a player he wanted at Chelsea.
“It’s a tricky question because I cannot speak about players from other teams,” he told reporters.
“But you know me, it’s not my kind of character to speak with a bit of hypocrisy and I always say what I think.
“He is a player I like very much but I can say no more than that. Being fast and direct, I like that, but he’s a Manchester United player.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Mourinho has tried to tap up a player. In 2005, Mourinho was handed a record £200,000 fine and Chelsea were given a suspended three point deduction for their pursuit of Ashley Cole which was in violation of Premier League conduct rules.
Mourinho won’t get caught with his pants down twice and his years in management at the highest level have taught him a trick or two. His pursuit of Rooney has the ultimate goal of Rooney handing in an official transfer request as not only will it allow Chelsea to approach Rooney officially, but it will likely drive United’s potential asking price down.