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Premier League

Chelsea's Jose Mourinho admits admiration for 'fast and direct' Wayne Rooney but refuses to discuss transfer while he's contracted to Manchester United

Mourinho says Rooney is a player he 'likes very much' and believes that his own time away from the Premier League has made him a better manager

Jose Mourinho has spoken once more of his admiration for Wayne Rooney but insisted he will not discuss any potential deal for the striker as long as he remains a Manchester United player.

Mourinho was speaking during Chelsea’s pre-season tour of Asia, admitting that Rooney is a player he “likes very much” after the striker was forced home from United’s similar tour of Asia with a hamstring injury.

Rooney has been linked with a move to both Chelsea and Arsenal as well as Real Madrid and Paris St-Germain, but David Moyes has insisted that the England striker will be staying at Old Trafford.

“It’s a funny trick question,” Mourinho said.

“From an ethical point of view I can not speak about other team’s players. But I won’t speak with hypocrisy. It’s not in my nature.  I always speak what I think.

“He is a player I like very much but I can’t say much more. He is fast and direct and I like him. But he is a Manchester United player.”

Mourinho speaks from experience following the furore that surrounded his pursuit of Ashley Cole from Arsenal during his first spell at the club.

The Blues boss was fined £200,000 after he was accused of tapping-up the left-back as he attempted to sign the defender in 2005, although he eventually got his man in a fair deal in 2006.

The Portuguese admits that he is more experienced now than he was then, and that his time abroad has made him a better manager today.

“I am better now,” he admitted. “Experience matters a lot and age and my years around Europe – two years in Italy and three in Spain – makes me better coach. I am in better condition than I was last time.

“I have some white hairs but in my case that’s a good sign. It means I am better now than before. I am still very sad and unhappy when my team doesn’t win, it's up to the players to help me get the results that I want and I need. This means much more than a football club. It’s more than being a professional. It means a lot.”