Jose Mourinho has left Wayne Rooney out of his Manchester United squad for the Europa League clash with Feyenoord because he wants the England international to be “fresh” for the Premier League trip to Watford.
Rooney was one of a number of first-team regulars to miss out on the trip to Netherlands for Thursday’s match, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jesse Lingard, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw also left out.
The experienced forward’s omission is unrelated to last weekend’s defeat at the hands of rivals Manchester City, though, as Mourinho has made it clear Rooney is being rested ahead of Sunday’s domestic game against Watford.
“Well, he has played every game since the beginning of the season and he also played 90 minutes for England,” Mourinho stated at a news conference.
“He played 90 minutes at the weekend [against City]. I want him to be fresh for our next Premier League game [against Watford].
“He plays in an attacking position where I have lots of options.”
Mourinho then went on to explain his decision to also leave Shaw at home after the defender suffered a fractured leg on his last trip to Netherlands against PSV in the Champions League last season.
The Special One revealed Marcus Rojo is set to start at left-back versus Feyenoord in Shaw’s absence.
“I didn’t make the decision based on that negative episode [Shaw’s broken leg],” Mourinho added.
“Luke is a very good player, who is working well and hard. My options in the first four matches have been Luke, Luke, Luke, Luke. It is time for Marcos to play.”