After an extensive process which began at the beginning of the summer and is only now ending, sources close to Jose Mourinho have revealed that the Manchester United manager’s list of positives for Wayne Rooney’s inclusion in his side now simply contains the words “pulse” and “functioning limbs”.
Those with knowledge of the inner workings at Old Trafford claimed that Mourinho created the list in a bid to assess the viability of his continued selection for the first team.
Using a process of elimination, Rooney’s performances this season have reportedly seen the list whittled from an original 50 positives to the two which currently remain in place.
“Jose tends to do this at every club he joins, so there’s nothing odd about it. He’ll compile a list for each player and update it as the season progresses, but the state of Wayne’s list is not something he’s seen before,” said one member of Mourinho’s backroom staff, adding that the inclusion of the word “pulse” illustrates how far Mourinho’s expectations have dropped with regards to his captain.
“Previously, Jose would have demanded a lot from whoever was his captain. Like Louis [van Gaal], he wants a soldier operating for him on the pitch. But these days, honestly, Jose considers it a bonus if Wayne even survives a match with all of his extremities intact.”
At press time, Mourinho was liaising with his coaching staff to evaluate the fitness of his players for the weekend, as well as inquiring about whether Rooney had made it through the night.