Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is “going nowhere”, according to manager Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho dismissed reports the England forward was told to leave Old Trafford to get regular first-team football.
Rooney, 31, has not started a league game since the 3-1 defeat to Watford on 18 September and has missed United’s last two games with injury.
“There is no problem at all but you need stories to sell papers,” said the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss.
“[Rooney] is a top player, a very important player for us,” added Mourinho. “He is going nowhere – we like him, he likes us. He’s not happy because he’s been on the bench but he is even unhappier when he’s injured.”
Rooney is now fit after recovering from the calf injury that forced him to miss Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea and Wednesday’s EFL Cup win over Manchester City.
He is just four goals short of surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s tally of 249 goals for United, to become the club’s all-time record goalscorer.
But he has scored just once this season and has not found the net in his last 10 games for United.
Mourinho said he also had been misquoted, after he was reported to have said living alone in Manchester had become a “bit of a disaster”.
He added: “You write lies, even about myself when I say it’s a disaster because every time I leave the hotel I have somebody chasing me, you say my life is a disaster. You can write what you want but many times it is not true.”
‘Mkhitaryan needs time’
Mourinho believes midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan can become an important player for United, but needs time to adapt to the “intensity and aggression” of the English game.
The Armenian, 27, signed for £26m from Borussia Dortmund in July, having been voted Bundesliga player of the year last season.
He has only played 104 minutes all season and has not featured since being taken off at half-time in the league defeat by Manchester City on 10 September.
Mourinho said Mkhitaryan “is training with the team 100%”.
“Mkhitaryan is not injured,” he added. “Sometimes I confuse the meaning ‘fit’ in English language. Sometimes fit is ready to compete.
“Some players are really adapted to come and play and not to feel. Some players they need time, to feel it, to feel the intensity, time to feel the aggression, the game without the ball.”
Mourinho compared the Armenian’s arrival to that of Brazil midfielder Willian when the Portuguese was in charge at Chelsea.
“Willian when he arrived at Chelsea he had problems, he went through a process and the next season he was a champion. He was phenomenal and he still is,” said Mourinho.
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