Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says Wayne Rooney is hurting and hinted his captain may miss out on a starting spot again for the trip to Liverpool.
Rooney, 30, is going through a difficult period, dropped by England for their World Cup qualifier against Slovenia after Mourinho had already benched him in the Premier League.
United boss Mourinho, whose men visit Liverpool on Monday, believes the damage has been done for Rooney.
“I think what you could hurt, you did already. I don’t think you can do more than what you did,” he told reporters.
“So I think, in this moment, it is time for him to recover from what was done to him and the best place for him to do that is feeling like he feels at home here.
“I’m not saying that he is low. You can hurt me but you can’t put me down – I think he’s the same.”
United great Ryan Giggs had suggested Rooney was confused after being asked to play in numerous positions.
Mourinho distanced himself from the blame, however, saying that any uncertainty was not his fault.
“If somebody confused him, it wasn’t me,” he said. “He can play everywhere. That’s no problem.”
Rooney was dropped after United suffered back-to-back league losses to Manchester City and Watford, with Mourinho’s men beating Leicester City 4-1 and drawing with Stoke City since.