Jose Mourinho has waded into the debate about Wayne Rooney’s future for a second time, warning England that their World Cup hopes will suffer if their main striker is not in the Manchester United team.
Rooney, 27, was reportedly left “angry and confused” by comments from new United manager David Moyes which suggested he is seen as a back-up for Robin van Persie.
Chelsea are thought to be a possible destination for Rooney - Mourinho described him as “a player I like” last week - and the Blues manager is expected to sign a forward this summer.
And Mourinho believes Rooney’s current situation at club level will have an impact on the international side.
Speaking on Chelsea's pre-season tour of Thailand, he said: "If Wayne is a second choice for Man United, then the national team will be affected."
With 36 goals in 83 appearances, Rooney is the fifth-highest scorer in England’s history - but Roy Hodgson’s team, who are second in Group H, are not certain to qualify for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Rooney has been a United player since 2004, but has been unsettled in recent months. Sir Alex Ferguson declared that the forward wanted to leave Old Trafford, but Moyes has said he is not for sale.
Rooney flew home from United’s pre-season tour of Asia and Australia with a hamstring injury.