“I like him very much,” admits Mourinho.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has done little to dampen speculation linking the club with a move for Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney, reports The Guardian.
The England striker has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford after former boss Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed Rooney had asked to leave at the end of last season, the player’s second such request in three years.
Arsenal and Chelsea have both been linked with the 27-year-old, who is remaining tight-lipped on his future.
But speaking to reporters in Bangkok during the Blues’ pre-season tour, Mourinho refused to rule out a move for Rooney and admitted his admiration for the Liverpudlian.
“It is a tricky question because, from the ethical point of view, I cannot speak of players of other teams,” Mourinho said.
“But you know me, it is not my kind of character to speak with hypocrisy and I speak what I think and he is a player I like very much.
“I cannot say much more that than, but being fast and direct, I like him very much, but he is a Manchester United player.”
Rooney moved to the Premier League champions from boyhood club Everton in 2004 and has scored 197 goals in 400 appearances for United in all competitions.
The forward scored more goals for the club than any other player during Ferguson’s 27-year reign as Red Devils manager but was left out of the squad for the Scot’s final two matches in charge at the end of last season, amid reports he had asked to leave the club.
Ferguson’s successor David Moyes has confirmed that talks with Rooney are on-going but the player has been forced to return from the club’s pre-season tour with a groin injury which will rule him out for up to a month.