Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney has contradicted rumours linking him with a move to China, saying he is “committed” to the Old Trafford club, but he did indicate he wants to play more.
The England international netted his 250th United goal on Saturday, breaking Sir Bobby Charlton’s club record, as he rescued a late point for the Red Devils in their 1-1 draw with Stoke City in the Premier League.
The 31-year-old came on as a substitute against the Potters, his eighth of 16 Premier League appearances in 2016-17 to be made from the bench.
Rooney is no longer a guaranteed starter for manager Jose Mourinho, but he said after netting against Stoke that he remains dedicated to United, per Sky Sports (via Goal’s Sacha Pisani):
I’m committed. I have been at the club for a long time.
Football is a strange game. Anything can happen and things change very quickly but I am happy at Manchester United.
Of course, as I have said before, I want to play more games.
I am in a happy place, a good moment personally, so I think I have a year, with an option [of a] year to go. We will see what happens and what happens after that.
Per Pisani, Beijing Guoan bid for Rooney before the start of the current campaign, and rumours have continued that he could opt for a move to the Chinese Super League given his diminishing role at United.
In December, it was reported that Guangzhou Evergrande had joined the race to sign him, per Steve Bates of the Sunday People (via the Mirror).
Mourinho said that, while he has had no talks with Rooney about his future or a potential move to China, he would not stand in his way should he opt to follow in the footsteps of Oscar, Carlos Tevez and Axel Witsel in moving to south-east Asia, per the Press Association (via ESPN FC):
I think he still has more to give us, but you reach a certain level in his career when it is up to him.
Could anyone be critical with Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] last summer if he decided to go to China or the U.S.? Could anyone be critical with one guy with such an amazing career? No, and I think with Wayne it is the same. He owns his life, he owns his career. It’s him, his family and his decision.
Following United’s dealings in the summer transfer window, when they brought in Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Rooney is no longer the star man at United.
He arguably no longer earns a place in the Red Devils’ best starting XI, but as he showed on Saturday, he still has a lot to contribute to the side.
The former Everton man has been an Old Trafford stalwart for over a decade and, while he may eventually move elsewhere to finish his career, it seems clear that Rooney is as committed as ever to United.