Rooney was converted into a midfielder toward the end of van Gaal’s reign and also featured in the midfield role under Roy Hodgson for England at Euro 2016. However, lots of Man United fans don’t want to see him starting in midfield and it sounds like that might happen.
Speaking about Rooney, Mourinho insists he will play his captain further up the field.
“In football there are many jobs on the field,” he told the media.
“The one that is more difficult to find is the one who puts the ball in the net. Players change their characteristics with age, so its normal that they change a little bit. But the natural appetite to put the ball in the net never changes.
“Maybe he is not a No.9 anymore but he will never, with me, be a No.6. He will never be 50 metres from the goal. For me he will be a No.9 or a No.10 or a No.9.5, but with me he will never be a No.6 or a even No.8.”
While there were positive signs of his ability in the centre of the field, it doesn’t look like Mourinho will continue to play England’s record goal scorer as a midfielder next season.
Rooney is a very versatile player and Rashford’s spectacular form last season pushed him into a deeper role, Mourinho is said to be looking to bolster his options with Paul Pogba in midfield and may be leaning towards an an Ibrahimovic-Rooney combination up front.
He has gotten slower as he enters the latter stages of his career, but Mourinho will be looking to reignite his appetite to put the ball in the net at Old Trafford.