Martin Keown: Jose Mourinho’s management of Wayne Rooney was unacceptable

by Leo Nieboer

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has criticised Jose Mourinho for his mismanagement of Wayne Rooney this season.

The 31-year-old begun the 2016/17 as a regular in Mourinho’s starting XI but quickly fell out of favour following a string of woeful performances.

He restored some parity by breaking the club all time goalscoring record last month, but he continues to feature sporadically under the Portuguese, with his last Premier League start dating all the way back to December.

And Keown, speaking on BT Sport, has voiced his disapproval of the way Mourinho has frozen out his captain.

“I find it really strange. I enjoy the maturity that Wayne Rooney now shows but where’s the angry man?” , he wondered. 

“Why is it all happening and he’s almost allowing it to happen? He lost his place with the England team and had that press conference with Southgate.

“It looks like Mourinho is taking him off the throne. He’s 31 years of age, there’s a lot of miles on the clock. But I want to see the angry Wayne Rooney again. He’s still got something to offer.

“He’s achieving great things, top goal scorer for England and for Manchester United, but there’s more to come. I think Mourinho has been clever in just trying to edge him out. I wouldn’t allow it.”

The fact that Keown literally complained about Mourinho taking Rooney “off his throne” demonstrates that pundits place the Englishman on a lofty, king-like pedestal for no clear reason, perhaps in order to maintain a good relationship with the 31-year-old.

But Mourinho, unlike some in the punditry industry, thinks in purely pragmatic terms. His job is not to satisfy sentiments of outsiders, but instead to construct the best possible XI out of the players at his disposal. And even the staunchest Rooney supporter would have to admit that, when constructing United’s best possible side, the Englishman misses out.

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