Wayne Rooney should — and almost certainly will — be given the warm welcome “he deserves” when he makes his return to Old Trafford on Sunday, according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.
After 13 years (not to mention 253 goals and 11 major trophies) at Man United, Rooney left for Everton, his boyhood club, in the summer. In Mourinho’s mind, Rooney is a “real legend” of the club, in every sense of the word — quotes from the Guardian:
“I think he’ll get the welcome that he deserves. Sometimes the word legend comes too easily, [but] he’s a real legend of the club. The number of appearances, goals, trophies – clearly he’s one of the most important players in the history of Manchester United. I think the stadium will show him the respect he deserves. I hope before the match and after but not during it.
As for Mourinho’s current crop of players, Paul Pogba is expected to miss a month after suffering a hamstring injury early on in United’s UEFA Champions League victory over Basel on Tuesday. It won’t be a problem for Mourinho, though, as central midfield is arguably his squad’s deepest area:
“We have players waiting for an opportunity. He started the season really well, we’ve had one match per week we’ve been going with the same players. But there are good players more than ready to play. Honestly we miss Pogba and we need him but we have good players. Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellani, Michael Carrick — they’re waiting for a chance and they are ready.
“We lost important players last season and we were not crying or making excuses. That’s football. Squads are there to try to cope with this kind of situations.”