Jose Mourinho has revealed how he parted with Wayne Rooney in an emotional goodbye, and confirmed that he already misses the striker following his move back to Everton.
The Manchester United manager did not stand in Rooney’s way as he departed Old Trafford last month following 13 years at the club, with the England captain becoming a bit-part player during the 2016/17 campaign under Mourinho.
Despite allowing the 31-year-old to leave on a free transfer, Mourinho has revealed that the decision was not an easy one, and revealed that it was one of the more emotional departures that he has had to deal with.
“I miss him a lot,” said Mourinho. “I think he’s a fantastic guy. I’m not the kind of guy that gets normally emotional in my job and I did it with him when he left.
“But I’m sure that he’s going to be very, very good for Everton and Everton is going to be very, very good for him.
“It was not difficult (to let him go) because he deserves that, it’s not difficult. He deserves what he got and what he got was our desire for him to stay and our respect by letting it be completely clear that we would like him to stay.
“And at the same time, the respect that allows him to be happy – allow him to try to play every game, every minute which honestly I think he needs.”
Mourinho also offered his thoughts on why Rooney no longer had the same impact for United as in previous years, with the forward losing his place in the starting line-up as the Portuguese blended a mixture youth an experience as Marcus Rashford often partnered Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard more often than not being selected ahead of Rooney.
The former Chelsea manager, who failed in his attempt to sign Rooney during his first stint at Stamford Bridge, doesn’t feel that Rooney’s motivation ever dropped even when he was out of United’s starting line-up, and instead believes that time is catching up with him, meaning he needs to be playing week-in, week-out in order to keep his body at the optimum fitness level.
“At his age, I think with his genetic, with his body, with his personality too, I don’t think he’s the kind of player to be less motivated, not so happy because he’s not playing every minute,” Mourinho added.
“I think with his body he needs to be working at high intensity every day, every match. So I think he deserves that respect from us: if you want to go, we have to make it easy for you to go.”