Jose Mourinho has hailed Wayne Rooney as “the best player England has” as the new Manchester United manager responded to the news of Rooney’s testimonial.
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Late on Wednesday it was announced that Rooney, 30, will have a testimonial this summer as United will play his old club, Everton, at Old Trafford on Aug. 3.
Rooney’s testimonial will benefit two charities in Liverpool (Claire House Children’s Hospice, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital), his hometown, and both the NSPCC and the Manchester United Foundations as the only two professional teams he’s ever played for will square off.
Speaking to United’s website about the testimonial, Mourinho hailed Rooney’s influence over the past 12 years at Manchester United.
“Wayne is and has been England’s best player for over a decade and this game will be a fitting tribute to everything he has achieved,” Mourinho said. “I’m looking forward to what will be a very special night for us both. I’m sure the fans will make this a memorable occasion and help Wayne to raise a lot of money to help support vulnerable children.”
Rooney himself also spoke about his desire to remain at United and said he will “never play for another team in the Premier League” which will, of course, spark rumors that he will move to China or Major League Soccer in the coming years.
Separately, reports over the past few days have suggested that Manchester United were in pole position to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus this summer after Manchester City pulled out of any deal.
Although that may be true, reports that United had a buy-back clause in Pogba’s contract are false according to Sky Sports.
Pogba, 23, was released by United in 2012 and the Red Devils received just $1.2 million in compensation for the French midfielder after the failed to break into the first team at Old Trafford. However, it is now believed he will cost upwards of $120 million with the player who was crowned the best youngster at the 2014 World Cup starring for Juve as they’ve won four-straight Serie A titles.
With Mourinho arriving and eager to make a marquee signing, plus United’s considerable financial clout, would Pogba fancy a move back to United?
He obviously has some unfinished business in Manchester and they badly need a midfield lynch-pin to build their team around but would he be willing to return, especially with a spot in the UEFA Champions League next season?