• Premier League

Mourinho stokes Rooney fire

ESPN staff
July 12, 2013
ESPN Press Pass: Rooney's future

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has refused to dampen down speculation that he is preparing to make a move for Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, after admitting 'he's a player that I like very much' at the start of the club's Far East tour.

Mourinho hinted at his first press conference as returning Chelsea boss last month that he would relish the chance to bring Rooney to Stamford Bridge and these latest comments will add fuel to the fire that suggests his move for the England striker may be imminent.

When asked about a possible bid for Rooney, Mourinho did his best to dodge the question, yet he could not resist pouring a little praise on the striker who left United's pre-season tour early after suffering a hamstring injury.

"He's a player that I like very much, being fast and direct I like him very much, but he's a Manchester United player," said Mourinho.

"It's a funny, tricky question from an ethical point of view as I can't talk about players from other teams, but it is not my character to speak with hypocrisy, I always tell what I see."

The conspiracy theorists viewed Rooney's quick return from United's pre-season world tour on Thursday as a sign that he may be the subject of transfer interest after a summer of intense speculation over his future at Old Trafford, but new United boss David Moyes has moved to dampen down those rumours.

"The day we left Manchester for the tour, Wayne just felt his hamstring tighten up right at the end of training and we thought there would be no problem," Moyes told MUTV.

"After the long flight, we decided we'd get him tested and scanned and have a look at things and there is just a small grade one injury there.

"He didn't train yesterday and we thought it would be worth just seeing what it was and there was a very slight mark on his hamstring. We won't take any chances, there is no point in taking him any further round the world so we've sent him back and he'll get treatment at home."

Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Arsenal have also been linked with a move to sign Rooney this summer, with Mourinho's latest comments ensuring Chelsea's interest in the player will not be dismissed any time soon.

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