Jose Mourinho has cast another doubt over the immediate future of Wayne Rooney after he admitted he isn’t sure whether the Manchester United captain will start their Europa League clash with Zorya Luhansk on Thursday.
Mourinho has however confirmed Zlatan Ibrahimovic will start the game.
The United manager also revealed that he planned to start Rooney in the Europa League tie at Old Trafford after dropping him against Leicester.
But he claims he has to reconsider his starting line-up because he missed training this week with a back problem.
“I was completely convinced of playing him tomorrow,” Mourinho said of Rooney.
“I’m not sure if I do that because with the situation that you create to him I think he really can’t afford to have a performance that is not really good and I am here to protect him and have to analyse the best thing for him.
“If he is not totally ready for it, I will discuss that with the medical staff.”
The Portuguese was however sure of the fate of Ibrahimovic for the game, as he said: “Zlatan starts.”
Meanwhile, winger Jesse Lingard has hailed Ibrahimovic’s impact, describing him as a leader, especially when Rooney doesn’t play. “He’s been a leader for the team, especially when the captain’s not playing,” said Lingard.
“He’s stepped up and he’s really led the team. Obviously the young lads look up to him and most of the older ones do as well.
“When you see the things he’s done in his career [you can’t help but be impressed].”