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Mourinho can't guarantee Rooney will stay

Press Association logoPress Association 21/02/2017

Jose Mourinho cannot guarantee that Wayne Rooney will end the season at Manchester United despite the manager's desire to keep hold of his captain.

A hamstring injury prevented the 31-year-old from travelling to France for the Europa League last-32 second leg with St Etienne, yet the forward still dominated the pre-match talk.

Rooney continues to be linked with an Old Trafford exit amid reported interest from big-spending Chinese clubs.

Three weeks ago Mourinho said there was no chance his skipper would leave before the season is out, but the United boss did not make the same guarantees when asked about the forward's future ahead of the Chinese transfer window shutting next week.

"You'll have to ask him," Mourinho said.

"Of course I can't guarantee (he will be here). I can't guarantee that I'm here next week, how can I guarantee that a player is here next season?

"What I can guarantee is that if Wayne one day leaves the club it is not because I want him to leave the club. That's the only thing I can guarantee.

"I would never push - or try to push - a legend of this club to another destiny.

"So you have to ask him if he sees himself staying in the club for the rest of his career or if he sees himself moving.

"It is not a question for me because I am happy to have him."

Rooney's deal at Old Trafford runs until next summer, with United holding the option to extend it by a further year.

Whether he sees out the season - never mind his deal - remains to be seen, as does the United captain's availability for Sunday's EFL Cup final against Southampton.

Rooney returned to light training on the eve of Wednesday's clash with St Etienne, but the hamstring complaint could yet scupper his chances of featuring at Wembley.

"I don't know," Mourinho said. "It was the first time he trained and he didn't even train 100 per cent with the group.

"You saw 15 minutes open to the press and, yes, he was doing the warm-up and basic things after that.

"But then when the training session was high in intensity, he was not training."

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