Jose Mourinho expects a warm welcome for Wayne Rooney on his return to Old Trafford this Sunday afternoon when Manchester United face Everton.
The United boss described the former England skipper as a club legend as he looked ahead to the game against the out-of-form Toffees.
Rooney himself has had a fortnight to forget after his arrest on suspicion of drink driving and the fact he’s seen his side ship six goals without reply in the last two games.
But Mourinho still thinks Rooney – who notched a record 253 goals during his 13 years with the Red Devils – has plenty to offer in the top flight.
“I think he [Rooney] will get the welcome he deserves.” Mourinho said about his former captain. “I think sometimes in this country, the word ‘legend’ is used too easy. This is not the case. He is a real legend of this club (Man United).”
“The number of goals, the number of trophies, clearly he is one of the most important players in the history of Manchester United.”
Everton manager Ronald Koeman has also spoke out about the return of Rooney.
“He has nothing to prove, of course not. Everybody knows his quality,” said Koeman.
“He’s one of the players who needs to react and bring the level of the players we expect from players like Wayne.”
Another forward facing his old club is Romelu Lukaku.
The Belgian has scored ten goals in eight games for club and country so far this season, and Mourinho has been impressed.
“He [Lukaku] is playing well, the team is playing well and there is a good understanding between them,” he said.
Speaking about another of his current group of players, the Portuguese confirmed that Paul Pogba will definitely miss Sunday’s game against Everton after the French midfielder picked up a hamstring injury against FC Basel on Tuesday night.
“He is injured and he cannot play on Sunday,” Mourinho said. “That is an opportunity for others and the others are ready to get that opportunity and perform.” Pogba will be out for “a few matches.”
One man who is on the brink of a first team return is fullback Luke Shaw while Marcos Rojo is still a couple of months away according to Mourinho.
When speaking about the game, Mourinho acknowledged that Sunday’s match will be a highly competitive game, as it usually is when the two sides meet.
“Everton have lots of good players, they’re a good team and it will be a very difficult match for us.”
Both games ended 1-1 in the same fixture last season.
Historically, it has been a classic fixture. United have the upper hand with 85 wins, while Everton have emerged victorious 69 times with 43 draws between the teams.
Interestingly, the hosts are yet to concede at home this season.
Could Rooney become the first player to score at Old Trafford for an opposing team in 2017/18?