Jose Mourinho risks infuriating Manchester United by suggesting that Wayne Rooney staying at Old Trafford could be bad for England

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Jose Mourinho issued his most provocative observation yet on Wayne Rooney’s situation at Manchester United when he said that it would be bad for the England team if the striker was simply regarded by David Moyes as a back-up option to Robin Van Persie.

Rooney, 27, is a long-term transfer target for Chelsea and their first choice when it comes to signing a striker this summer. Although United have steadfastly said that Rooney is not for sale, Moyes has conceded that he sees Rooney as cover for Van Persie

In response to a question about Rooney’s role at United, Moyes said this week: “Overall my thought on Wayne is that if for any reason we get an injury to Robin van Persie we are going to need him.”

Mourinho said: “If Wayne is a second choice for Man United, then the national team will be affected“.

Mourinho also paid tribute to his old guard of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, who will all start the first game of Mourinho’s new Chelsea era today in Bangkok, for their intensity in “training like animals”.

The three Englishmen, along with Petr Cech and Michael Essien will start for Chelsea against Singha All-Stars in Bangkok at 2pm UK time, although Mourinho said he will make ten changes at half-time.

“When I see Terry, Cole, Lampard, the way they are working it's easy for me to demand the same from the other guys. I can say 'Look that them: they don't miss one minute; they are training like animals; they compete. So you, who are 18, 19, 21, don't tell me you can't do it'.”