Jose Mourinho says he “trusts Wayne Rooney completely” and believes the Manchester United captain remains an important player despite dropping him for the 4-1 win over Leicester.
It was the first time Mourinho had dropped Rooney, and United were 4-0 up before half-time against the champions.
“He’s my man, I trust him completely. He’s as happy as I am at this moment and that’s the team,” Mourinho said.
“He’s a big player for me, for United, a big player for this country.”
Rooney was last dropped for a Premier League game on Boxing Day last year, and without him on Saturday United overcame a slow first 20 minutes to score through Chris Smalling, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba.
Mourinho introduced Rooney for the final seven minutes and the manager was frustrated by further questioning in his post-match news conference.
“If I don’t play Rashford you ask me why, if I don’t play Jesse Lingard you ask me why and you prefer always to ask why somebody is not playing,” he said.
“Sometimes when I read you I feel I know nothing about football. But there is one thing I know and that is the rules of the game and I can only start with 11. Until somebody tells me there is a change to that I can only start with 11.”
‘What’s his speciality now?’
Mark Lawrenson on Football Focus:
“I think Wayne Rooney has played himself out of the team. His form has been poor and he’s not playing well enough to be in the starting line-up. It’s as simple as that. When has he last played well for Manchester United or England? It’s been a while. He’s a great player, but he’s just not playing well.”
Danny Mills on Final Score:
“Jose Mourinho wanted a bit more pace and dynamism up front. Most fans were saying ‘leave Wayne Rooney out’ and I feel a little bit sorry for him. I’m not sure what he does now. He’s not a goalscorer, he’s not an out-and-out striker and he’s not a central midfielder either. What’s his specialty in that team?”
Garth Crooks on Final Score:
“Wayne Rooney has far too much to offer Manchester United to be on the bench for long. United are in the Europa League, have a league challenge to mount and the FA Cup to compete in. He also has a crucial role to play in the dressing room as both the United and England captain.”
Analysis: ‘Rooney’s Utd future is on the line’
BBC Sport’s Simon Stone at Old Trafford
“There is no great disconnect between Wayne Rooney and club or manager, as there was in 2013, when Rooney sat in an executive box and watched Sir Alex Ferguson’s final Old Trafford game as Manchester United manager behind glass.
“Rooney politely applauded back when he was sent out to warm up for the first time, and the home fans’ reception was enthusiastic when he ran on to the field after replacing Rashford near the end.
“It won’t stop the chatter around Rooney though. His United future is on the line.
“Mourinho’s decision is not about this lunchtime – or Thursday, when United face Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League and Rooney is likely to start.
“It is about next month, and January and June next year. About the day when Henrikh Mkhitaryan is going to be fit and in form. When transfer windows open and close.
“Rooney did not get dropped for the man Mourinho bought to be his new number 10. He got dropped because Mourinho needed to do something to wake his team from their September slumber.
“What we don’t know yet is whether England’s captain is surplus to requirements permanently.”
Subscribe to the BBC Sport newsletter to get our pick of news, features and video sent to your inbox.