Monday, February 20, 2017

Mourinho: In-form Martial preferred to fully fit Rooney

SoccerNews in English Premier League 19 Nov 2016

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Jose Mourinho has claimed Anthony Martial’s efforts in training are behind the decision to drop a fully fit Wayne Rooney for Manchester United’s Premier League match against Arsenal.

Rooney made the headlines for the wrong reasons after appearing to be drunk in photographs taken at a wedding held at the England team’s hotel last weekend.

Captain for his club and country, the experienced striker was left out of the 2-2 friendly draw with Spain at Wembley on Tuesday and left the national team camp to return to United, apparently to seek treatment on a knee injury, according to England’s interim coach Gareth Southgate.

Mourinho criticised the Football Association for allowing Rooney’s transgression to take place.

And, while the Portuguese said the 31-year-old has recovered from his minor fitness issue, Martial was preferred to Rooney in the starting XI for the clash with the Gunners at Old Trafford.

“I decided to leave Wayne on the bench,” he told Sky Sports.

“Everything is a process. I have to analyse everything all together. But I prefer to go with the fact the way Martial trained for the last two weeks, because he was not selected for the French national team, he showed a great desire to improve his levels. Which we believe he did, so we go with Martial.

“[Rooney’s] fitness is fine. He came back with a little thing. After a couple of days of treatment he was fine.” 

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