Jose Mourinho left Wayne Rooney out against Arsenal because he had other ‘faster’ players
Jose Mourinho has revealed he left Wayne Rooney out of the starting team to face Arsenal because of his lack of pace compared to his other striking options.
The Manchester United boss fielded Marcus Rashford, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial against the Gunners, though Rooney came off the bench in the second half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Rooney had a difficult week after he was pictured looking worse for wear at the England team hotel in the early hours following the World Cup qualifying win over Scotland.
Mourinho said he left Rooney out not because of the England captain’s off-field controversy, but because he felt raw pace was most likely to trouble Arsenal’s back four.
“I thought we were going to have the ball,” Mourinho told national newspapers. “Arsenal are a team who let the opponents play
“I thought we would have space and the ball would arrive quite easily to the attacking players.
“I believed ones like Mata, Martial and Rashford were faster than Wayne, better attacking opponents one to one in the last line. I thought it was the best option.”