Paul Ince: Wayne Rooney must leave Manchester United in the summer

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince believes that Wayne Rooney must leave Old Trafford over the summer.

The 31-year-old, who finally broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s all-time club goalscoring record last month, has been used on a sporadic basis by Jose Mourinho this season.

Various reports have claimed that Rooney, no longer a regular presence in the starting XI, has expressed a desire to leave the club this summer.

And Ince, speaking earlier this week, noted that the captain could offer more elsewhere.

“If I was in his position, at his age, there’s absolutely no chance I’d stay at Manchester United. Rooney is 31 and still has a lot to offer,” he said.

“He wants to play football, and wants to play every game. His time at Man United is finished if they can’t offer him that anymore. He’s too good to be a bit-part player and it’s time for him to move on from Manchester United.

“Wayne will be frustrated sitting on the bench, watching his team and feeling like he can make an impact. There’s been talk of a move to China or to the MLS, but he still has plenty more to give to top-flight English football.

“If Jose Mourinho said he was available, there should be plenty of Premier League top half clubs who would jump to sign him.”

The debate over whether Rooney merits a place in Man United’s starting XI has, after years of angry back-and-forths, been finally decided: after 14 years of playing no less than 42 games a season at the highest level, the Englishman’s legs have finally called time on what has been a sensational and, as of last month, truly historical career.

His current role at Old Trafford is more symbolic than practical. He serves as a beacon of experience and pedigree, there to help younger, less experienced players during challenging times. But one suspects that, at the age of 31, more football lies ahead for Rooney, and nobody would blame him for seeking out another club over the summer.

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