Manchester United forward, Wayne Rooney’s 13-year stay at the club could come to an end this summer with the 31-year-old no longer a part of Jose Mourinho’s first team plans with and gossips of a move for Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann becoming increasingly likely.
Rooney has broken Sir Bobby Charlton’s scoring record this season to become the club’s all-time leading goal scorer with 183 goals but despite securing his place in Manchester United history; Rooney has been forced to accept a place on the substitute’s bench this season.
The 31-year-old has initiated just 22 matches in all competitions this year and the indications are that Rooney will reluctantly leave United in order to ensure more first team football.”I haven’t thrown my toys out of the pram but I do want to play to help the team,” Rooney said after United’s Europa League semi-final triumph over Celta Vigo.
“Football changes. You have different challenges in your career. I would like to play more but I’ve tried to help the team on and off pitch.
“Of course you want to play every game. I’ve had to try to take my chance when called upon. I try to do my best for the team.”
After Rooney came on as a 90th-minute substitute in Manchester United’s Europa League win in Stockholm, Rooney gave the clearest hint yet that he has played his last game for the club.
“Honestly, I’ve said before, I don’t know. I’ve got decisions to make now over the next few weeks, have a word with my family, and then I’ll decide.”
But when pressed on whether he had already reached that decision, Rooney replied: “More or less, yeah [I’ve decided].”
Expressively, Rooney said there was no need for further discussions with Mourinho. “No, I know,” he said. “As the manager said before, he wants me to stay, but…”
Rooney has revealed he has ‘a number of offers on the table,’ although he reiterated that Manchester United and Everton would be ‘the only two Premier League clubs I will play for.’
“There are lots of offers on the table, both in England, abroad and really that’s what I have to decide on.”
“I think I just have to make a decision in terms of a football decision, and that’s what I’ll do, I’ll do that [over] the next few weeks with my family while I’m away and, honestly, as soon as I know what’s going on then, I’m sure you [will know].
Rooney was reported to have turned down a January move to China in favor seeing out the rest of the season with United but the Far East remains a potential endpoint.
However England manager Gareth Southgate has urged Rooney to avoid a move to China or the MLS if he wants to regain his place in the England set-up.
“I’ve seen bits of [MLS],” Southgate said. “It’s obviously not at the level of the Premier League. I don’t know enough about the league in China, if I’m honest. You want your players playing in the biggest possible games. That is the best test for them.”
Everton manager Ronald Koeman has already admitted he would like to offer Rooney an emotional return to Goodison Park this summer.
“I believe that Wayne Rooney is still playing at a high level,” said the Everton manager.
“I think he made a good choice to stay at Manchester United and in the Premier League because he has still two or three years in front of him to play on a high level.
“What will happen at the end of the season? I don’t know but in my opinion he is one of the players who can make Everton more stronger. It’s all about what the player likes, what Manchester United needs to do, and we are not involved in that project.
“But every player that we at Everton think can make the team stronger is welcome to Everton.”
Jose Mourinho has insisted he would be ‘very happy’ if Rooney decided to stay at the club.
“He is a very important player for us. If he stays next season I’d be very happy,” Mourinho said following United’s Europa League final win over Ajax.
If Rooney to play into the final year of his Old Trafford contract he would stand to earn £300,000-per-week after United secured Champions League football.