Johannesburg [South Africa], Oct. 29 : Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has suggested that skipper Wayne Rooney would not be allowed to leave the club in the January transfer window.
There have been rumours that Rooney might be leaving United amid his frustrations at losing his starting place at Old Trafford and interest from his former club Everton.
Ronald Koeman, who is in charge of Everton---the club that Rooney left to join United in the summer of 2004---has become the first Premier League manager to express an interest in signing the England captain should Mourinho allows him to leave.
However, Mourinho has categorically stated that the 31-year-old England captain should not only be told to forget leaving but he also expects the experienced veteran to play a key role in his attempts to return United to the top of the English game.
"I know he can still play at the highest level. I know he's the type of player I need. He can play at the top level. I can't say what's going to happen when he's 32, 3, 4, 5 but what I can say is that he's a very good player, a very important player for us.
He's going nowhere," Mourinho was quoted as saying by Sport24. "We like him, he likes us. He's not happy in the last matches because he was on the bench but I think he is even unhappier when he's not on the bench because he's been injured and has to stay in the stands," he added.
Koeman, the Everton manager, had earlier talked about a potential interest in Rooney, saying that he is always pleased to know every time they get the one time the possibility that Rooney is an option for Everton.
However, he asserted that it was the decision of the manager of Manchester United. "But he is 31, he is not finished, he still has two or three years at least at the highest level.Wayne Rooney is a top player and, of course, if there is one day when he is available of course we would like to have him but it is too early and I don't like to speak about players who are under contract at other teams," Koeman had said.
There have been reports suggesting that Mourinho might be prepared to give Koeman - and other rivals - encouragement in their hopes of luring Rooney away from Old Trafford.
The United captain, who is under criticism over his recent form, had earlier insisted he has still got a "lot of football left" amid speculations that his days as a regular starting player for the club could be coming to a close.