Jose Mourinho reveals Wayne Rooney spoke to him before announcing England retirement

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has revealed that Wayne Rooney called him the night before officially announcing his retirement from international football.

The 31-year-old, who joined Everton earlier this summer, announced last year that he planned to retire from the England set-up following the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

However, following a season that saw him descend down the pecking order at Old Trafford and stray away from Gareth Southgate’s plans, he announced earlier this week that he was calling time on an historic England career.

And Mourinho, speaking ahead of Manchester United’s clash with Leicester City, noted that Rooney called him to explain his reasons.

“He told me the night before,” he revealed.

“I am nobody to tell him agree, not agree, to do it or not do it, just listened to his reasons and I understand his reasons.

“He does it for Everton, he does it for his family, so I have no complaints.

“I just realise, like many other people, when he retires, you realise how many matches he played, how many goals he scored, what he represents for the football in this country and many congratulations for his career with the Three Lions.”

The fact that Rooney and Mourinho maintain a strong relationship, in spite of the latter effectively ending his spell as the axis of Man United’s attacking lineup, speaks volumes about the respect commanded by the Portuguese at Old Trafford.

We ought to appreciate the seamless way in which the Englishman was slowly pushed to one side with minimal fuss last year. Past episodes show that the process leading to Rooney’s departure could have been quite vitriolic.

And Rooney himself deserves credit – not just for being the greatest goalscorer this country has ever produced, but indeed for understanding his limits and downsizing in the interest of prolonging his career at the club he supports.

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