Antonio Conte has praised Wayne Rooney as a someone who “plays with his soul”, and said he is still showing he is “fantastic player”, ahead of Chelsea’s meeting with Everton at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
The 32-year-old has enjoyed a new lease of life at his old club, scoring 10 goals in 16 games, and the Italian feels it was a “great buy”.
“We must pay great attention because Wayne Rooney is an important player, a good player,” Conte said.
“He is showing his ability. For sure, Wayne Rooney is one of the best players of Everton. I think it was a great buy for him. He's showing he's a fantastic player. He's continued to play in a fantastic way. We must pay great attention because I think Wayne Rooney is a player who, when he plays, plays with his soul. You can see this during the game.”
Conte says he never considered a move for Rooney when at Juventus, because he knew “he was an important player for Manchester United”.
The Chelsea manager also felt the Everton star may well have “the passion” to be a future manager.
“It's not simple, not simple. For sure, you have to make this question to him. I think that he shows great passion. Usually when you have this type of passion, you can do this job. In our job, you must have great passion, great patience, great will to suffer. Suffer, yes.”
Conte meanwhile revealed that he had been shown hospitality by Everton’s current manager Sam Allardyce, when he was Italian national manager and the English coach was in charge of West Ham United.
“I visited West Ham's training ground when Sam was the coach, three years ago. When I was the coach of the national team. I had this pleasure to be at Cobham, West Ham's training ground and Tottenham's training ground. I spoke with Sam, a really good man and good coach. But I knew him when he was the coach of Bolton.”
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