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Mourinho sharpens pencil for FA Rooney rebuke

19 November 2016, 13:38

Manchester - Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho issued thinly veiled criticism of England's Football Association over the Wayne Rooney drinking controversy on Friday, likening them to careless schoolchildren.

Rooney, 31, apologised this week after being pictured looking the worse for wear as he mingled with guests during a late-night wedding party at the England team hotel last weekend.

British press reports claim Mourinho was angry with the FA for not supervising Rooney more closely and he appeared to suggest the striker could have been looked after more carefully.

"The only thing I say is that (when) the player goes to the national team, he belongs to the national team," Mourinho said.

"I learnt since I was a kid, since school, if someone lends me something, I have to take care even better than if it was mine.

"You know? Your friend lent you a pencil. You have to take care of the pencil better than if it was your pencil.

"So I think when one day if I become a national team manager, I will try (to act like that).

"I am not saying that I will be successful on that, and I am not being critical with Gary (England interim manager Gareth Southgate) or anyone.

"I get the occasion to wish Gary the best of luck, but I think you have to build something to protect what is not yours, what someone lends you."

Rooney's behaviour has prompted lively debate in British football circles this week and the matter is being investigated by the FA.

While Mourinho said Rooney would be "ready" for Saturday's game against Arsenal after withdrawing from England duty with a minor knee injury, he conceded the furore had affected his captain.

"Even if you build a kind of wall around you to try to feel protected from what people write about you or think about you, the wall has always points of fragility," said the United manager.

"It has always some little holes and we are not steel. We are flesh and blood, so I think it has an effect."

Reports suggest some of England's others players visited a nightclub on their night off and Mourinho made reference to that when asked whether it was right for Rooney to have been drunk in public.

"I would have a great answer for you. I don't want to because I don't want to speak about it," Mourinho told reporters at United's training base west of Manchester city centre.

"But if you go one by one, to see where these 23 players were, some of them were in worse places than the hotel bar."

Mourinho also took issue with Everton manager Ronald Koeman after the Dutchman expressed an interest in signing United's out-of-favour Dutch winger Memphis Depay.

"I think my normal answer if somebody asks me about a player from another team is the player is not my player," he said.

"The player belongs to another team, the player belongs to another manager, no comments at all.

"I think that is the ethical answer and when we are always worried about ethics and respect and rules, I just said that if it was me making those comments about an Everton player, I would be in trouble."

- AFP

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